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Charting a new territory, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), a renowned institution pivotal in the Green Revolution, has expanded its research focus to include genetic improvement of the potato crop. The university has unveiled two new potato varieties, Punjab Potato 101 and Punjab Potato 102.

Highlighting the agricultural landscape of Punjab, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, underscored the state’s crucial position as the 6th largest contributor to national potato production, generating over 3.0 million tonnes annually from 1.07 lakh hectares of land. He acknowledged Punjab’s key role as the major disease-free seed producer, meeting 90% of the country’s total disease-free seed potato requirement. In doing so, he emphasized the potato’s vital role as a cash crop in Punjab, significantly enhancing farm income, creating employment opportunities, and ensuring food security for the state. Expressing optimism, Dr. Gosal anticipated that the newly developed potato varieties would substantially benefit Punjab’s potato growers by improving yields, thereby enhancing farmers’ incomes.

Dr. Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research at PAU, shared insights into the university’s innovative potato breeding program initiated in 2016. Leveraging the off-season facility at Key long, Himachal Pradesh, the program aimed to develop potato varieties specifically tailored for Punjab. Dr. Dhatt explained the meticulous process of generating segregating populations annually through parent crossing to produce true potato seed (TPS) at Key long. The subsequent evaluation for agronomic traits occurred at PAU, Ludhiana.

After years of unwavering dedication, Dr. Sat Pal Sharma and his team achieved a significant breakthrough in 2023. For the first time since its inception, PAU introduced two high-yield potato varieties, Punjab Potato 101 and Punjab Potato 102, distinguished by their white and light yellow flesh, respectively. Both varieties are deemed suitable for main-season cultivation, Dr. Dhatt informed.

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