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Utkal Tubers to produce 30,000 metric tonne of seed potato by 2023

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Potatoes

By FY23, Utkal Tubers, a Zephyrs Peacock-backed lab-to-land vegetable seeds venture, plans to grow 30,000 metric tons of seed potato. The company will need additional funding to increase its manufacturing potential, which they expect to raise by debt and equity instruments from current and established investors. 

"Demand for our goods has increased considerably in the last two years as a result of our ability to deliver high-quality material to the consumer. By FY23, we hope to have produced 30,000 metric tonnes of seed potatoes, including IPM varieties. When compared to exilic varieties, IPM varieties will produce 20% to 30% more "ting varieties," Utkal Tubers CEO Sanjeev Mahant told ET. For the import of high-yielding, disease-resistant potato varieties, Utkal Tubers has partnered with IPM Potato Group (IPM), a leading European potato firm. 

This year, potato rates in the country are on the decline. Mahant explained why this is the case "This reduction in price can be attributed to a number of factors. Because of the good prices last season, several new and small farmers got involved and began growing potatoes. Reverse relocation to rural areas as a result of COVID-19-related lockdowns expanded the overall labor available for producing food in these regions, as well as the total area under cultivation, leading to higher total potato production throughout farms." 

"Current year's long winter helped farmers achieve higher yields, and there were no climatic problems during the harvesting season, resulting in substantial higher output. Finally, in October and November last year, the centre imported a significant pile of potatoes from Bhutan. This has also made a significant contribution to the rate's downward trend "Mr. Mahant concluded. 

Farmers and merchants of potatoes must better prepare their purchases and inventory. They'll need a lot of cold storage for backup supplies, and they'll have to market them fast. According to the CEO of Utkal Tubers, contract farming could help farmers reduce losses due to market fluctuations. As per the 2019 survey report, India exports just 1.5 percent of global potato production, lagging well behind other nations such as the Netherlands, France, and Germany. These nations account for 10 to 20 percent of total potato exports. 

"India has traditionally been a table potato market, with identical production patterns. The increase in the manufacturing variations industry during the last few years has been encouraging, with a 20 percent CAGR over the last five years. We assume that India can only become a preferred exporter if commercial potato production increases in underdeveloped states such as Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, and Rajasthan. Potato cultivation is presently restricted to a few states in India, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka. India's overall production is exceedingly limited, and as a result, it is unable to export "Mahant remarked. 

"The types of potatoes that we grow are another essential part of exporting potatoes. Indian firms must begin designing varieties that can be sold in international markets. For eg, at Utkal, we have obtained and are licensing multiple hybrids from IPM, an Irish potato breeding company, giving us exposure to variants that compete well in both Indian and international agroclimatic conditions "He went on to describe. 

"We were fortunate in the context that our industry really wasn't impacted during the pandemic, mostly because we fell into the essential's segment," Mahant spoke about his business performance during the pandemic. By March 2020, we had already collected potatoes from the ground and moved all supplies to cold storage for our operational activities. The shipment of resources (seed potatoes) to market starts in September, for which we were adequately trained. Even, last has been one of the peak seasons for potato seeds since prices were high due to higher potato consumption in our households. There have been some supply chain blockages, but we were able to overcome them thanks to our excellent preparation and implementation."

Due to a lack of high-quality seeds in the supply chain, demand for seeds potatoes was heavy in FY 21. "In addition, the premiums were higher. We have already sold all of our stock. The year before, the company expanded by more than 50%, and we expect similar growth in the coming years as well," added the CEO of the Utkal Tubers. 

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