Improved potato varieties with better yield suited to Manipur conditions

Arati Ningombam, Ch. Premabati Devi, NgursangzualaSailo, Lily K  Rangnamei, L Kanta Singh,Th Motilal Singh, A Romila, Ch Basudha, Ch Tania, Ch Sonia, N Peetambari
Potato is one of the important crops of NE India, including Manipur and also oneof the four major food crops of the world. It is a highly popular crop worldwide and can be served in various ways.French fries, mashed potatoes, hamburger patties in America, fish and chips in the UK, meat (steaks) and potatoes in Germany are few popular dishes made from potatoes around the world. In Russia, potato is used to make the alcoholic drink vodka. In Manipur,during the preparation of some common everyday dishes, especially “Eromba” and “Kangsoi”, potato is used as a base. In the cooking of many different cultures, potatoes are crucial and have multiple uses. It forms the base for many diverse foods depending on the consumer’s preference and offers a wide range of flavours and textures on the finished plate.
While potato is a well-known source of carbohy- drates, it is a good source of essential protein, vitamins, minerals, and biologically active compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and fibre. Potatoes provide a moderate amount of iron while being rich in vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. It is a good source of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, mag- nesium, and vitamins B1, B3, and B6. Additionally, potatoes include dietary fibre, which promotes well-being, and dietary anti- oxidants, which may help prevent diseases linked to ageing. The variety, growth environment, and processing techniques have the biggest impacts on nutrient amounts. The preparation process is another crucial element that strongly influences the nutrient content. As a result, it is preferable to consider the nutrient content of potatoes while screening varieties, demonstrating and growing potatoes in relation to the environment. Potato contains about 17% starch and is one of its best natural sources. Sprouting potatoes leads to the conversion of starch into sugar and solanine, a green toxic substance; hence, one should avoid eating sprouted potatoes.
For cultivating potatoes, the soil should be well-drained. Sandy loam or loamy soils, rich in organic matter, are ideal for potato cultivation. The night temperature is very important for tuberization of the potato. The best temperature for tuberization is 18-20°C if the prevailing temperature is above 20°C, there is a hindrance in the tuberi- zation. Foothills and places in Manipur with such night temperatures would be suitable for year-round potato cultivation.
The most popular potato variety among the farmers in Manipur is Kufri Jyoti. The variety, which has a 25–30 t/ha production potential, was introduced in 1968. The variety is suited to plateaus, plains, and hills. It takes 110–130 days for this medium-maturing culti-var to mature. The variety features white flowers on tall, upright, strong plants. The medium-sized, white, oval tubers have fleet eyes and a tendency to fracture. Due to the emergence of new disease races of potato late blight in recent years, the variety’s once moderate resistance to late blight has deteriorated. The late blight disease of potato is the most important factor for the low yield of potato in Manipur.
To replace Kufri Jyoti with a better potato variety suited to Manipur and spread awareness among the farmers, Front Line demonstration of potato varieties Kufri Pukhraj and Kufri-Chipsona-1 in five different locations of Manipur viz. Haorong Sabal, Kwasiphai, Mayang Langjing, Mapao and Phumlou organized by ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute, Regional Station, Shillong, and ICAR RC for NEH Region, Manipur Centre, Lamphel-pat during rabi season of 2022 along with ICAR KVK-Imphal West.
In 1998, the variety Kufri Pukhraj was introduced. It reaches early to medium maturity. It is an early bulker that requires little effort. This variety’s yield potential is 35–40 t/ha. The variety has a moderate level of resistance to potato late blight. It adapted to the North Indian Plains but was found to be well-suited to Manipur, too.
The variety Kufri Pukhraj was discovered to perform exceptionally well when Kufri Jyoti was infected with late blight. Under the Manipur conditions, the number of tubers produced per stalk ranges from 12 to 25, and the average number of stalks per tuber is 4 to 7. An average tuber measurement of 25.3 cm has been observed.
With many women SHGs, NGOs, and MSMEs engaged in and pursuing the food-processing of fruits and vegetables, Manipur’s post-harvest and food processing business is also flourishing. The marketplaces of Manipur are awash with locally created confections, jams, jellies, pickles, dried fruits, RTS drinks, and other processed foods. Both older and younger children enjoy potato chips and wafers as snacks. Chipsona-1 is a very good potato variety that farmers can grow for this burgeoning processing sector.
The Kufri Chipsona-1 variety was introducedin 1998. A 30-35 t/ha yield is considered optimum. It primarily targets the North Indian Plains and performs remarkably well in Mani-pur. It requires 100 days to reach maturity. Chipsona-1 is a medium-tall, semi-erect, compact plant. With fleet eyes, low reducing sugars, low phenols, and a 2-4% higher dry matter content, tubers are medium in colour, white, and rectangular in shape. It is ideal for making chips and French fries and has unique qualities like resistance to potato late blight.
During the FLD, farmers accepted these potato varieties well and favoured them over Kufri Jyoti. Potato cultivars Kufri Pukhraj and Kufri Chipsona-1 are suitable for cultivation in Manipur and can be grown by farmers in Largescale to earn a good income.  Due to the breakdown of resistance to late blight disease in Manipur, Kufri Jyoti is very susceptible to the disease, and farmers need to replace this variety with either Kufri Pukhraj or Kufri Chipsona-1.
Women, SHGs, FIGs, and entrepreneurs interested in value-addition can cultivate Kufri Chipsona-1 and earn additional income by making wafers, fries and other value-added potato products. Potato seed sellers such as Mahindra Seed Potatoescan sell seed tubers of Kufri Pukhraj and Chipsona-1 to the farmers and help make the potato seed tubers of these varieties easily available to interested farmers of the State.
The authors are Scientists and SMSs of ICARNEH Manipur Centre, ICAR-CPRI Regional Station, Shillong and KVK-Imphal West.
Plant Tall, semi-erect, medium compact and vigorous. Medium tall, semi - erect, compact and vigorous. Tall, erect, compact and vigorous
Foliage  Dark grey-green. Leaves closed with large size follicles; rachis green. Leaflets ovate to lanceolate, smooth glossy surface with entire margin. Green, leaves open rachis green. Leaflets ovate, smooth dull surface with entire margin. Grey-green, leaflets ovate-smooth glossy with entire margin, terminal leaflet fused.
Flowers White, moderate Flowering. Anthers orange-yellow, well developed, hight pollen stainability. Stigma round. White, profuse flowering. Anthers orange-yellow, well developed, moderate pollen stainability. Stigma round pinhead.  White & profuse flowering. Anthers - orange-yellow, well deve- loped, high pollen staina-bility. Stigma round and slightly notched. Tubers White, large, oval, slightly tapered, smooth skin, fleet eyes, yellow flesh. White, medium to large, oval, smooth skin, fleet eyes, dull white flesh.