Potato glut may cause less pain to farmers


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Ludhiana, August 1:Problem of glut of potatoes causing heavy losses to farmers now could be reduced drastically as Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) has standardized a technology for using potatoes of all kinds including waste from food processing industry, unmarketable small or very large size potatoes for making cattle feed of high nutritional value.

While use of potatoes waste in feed would bring down prices of cattle feed, its use in composition of feed has shown increase in the milk yield. Notably, India has the largest livestock population in the world and ranks first in respect of cattle (16 percent) and buffalo (57) percent of the world. Hence, there is huge consumption of feed. Besides, these animals survive on crop residues, green fodder, cereal bran, oil meals and for increasing milk yield cattle feed is also given to them in substantial amount. This also provides an opportunity to use large quantity of potato waste and potatoes when rates fall drastically due to glut in the market. CIPHET has successfully undertaken the project for developing cattle feed from potato waste.

The standardized process technology would help in stabilizing prices of potatoes when farmers are forced to throw them on streets and also problem of pollution could be tackled by converting waste of potatoes from industry into cattle feed, revealed Dr Sangeeta Dhingra, Senior Scientist at CIPHET and Principal Investigator of National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP) on value chain on potato and potato waste products. The normal feed available in market is combination of maize, barley, rice polish, husk, oil cake and mineral mixture, she said, adding that they have replaced 30 percent of these grains by the potato waste. Thus, it would save lot of precious grains and could be used for human consumption. She revealed that it took almost three years to standardised the process.

Head Transfer of Technology Division Dr Deepak Raj Rai said that food processing industry including potato chips manufacturing plants waste around 15 percent of potatoes and its becomes huge quality posing problems of disposal for industry. As potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, these can replace grain component in compound feed without any loss of nutrition,he said, adding that the technology would be beneficial from environment point of view too. D.S Oberoi, owner of prominent dairy farmer in Ludhiana, said that he had used cattle feed prepared by the CIPHET. “The cattle feed from potato have high acceptability among the animals and also their consistent use have shown increase in milk yield. This should be made available commercially so that farmers could be benefited,he stressed.