Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has joined hands with the Korean Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) to establish 35 aeroponic greenhouses. The objective of this collaboration is to produce 4 million tons of first-generation seed potato tubers, which will aid in large-scale cultivation and generate virus-free potato seed.
The countries are already working in unison to produce seed potatoes via aeroponics technology. With over 30% of potato seed requirements being met from tissue culture labs at NARC, the second crop is already ready to harvest at PARC-National Agricultural Research Centre Islamabad.
The project for Aeroponic Potato Seed Production System is an initiative to enhance productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, promote farm-level processing, develop human resources, and create significant job opportunities. PARC and KOPIA have set the goal of producing higher yield rates through innovative techniques that will facilitate efficient production of potato seed.
Potato is one of Pakistan’s primary cash crops, and it was cultivated in an area of 313,000 hectares during 2022, producing a total of 7937,000 tonnes. However, the majority of potato seeds used in Pakistan are imported from Holland, which is not only expensive but also of the fifth generation or above. Pakistan’s annual import of potato seed costs around Rs. 2-3 billion and is approximately 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes.
The establishment of aeroponic greenhouses is a significant step towards the production of virus-free potato seeds in Pakistan. This technology will not only reduce import costs but also provide an opportunity to enhance the country’s self-sufficiency in seed production, leading to a prosperous and thriving agricultural sector.