India : Agricultural Research Station to Solve Shortage of Quality Planting Materials

To solve the non-availability of quality planting materials of ginger, turmeric and tapioca crops, especially for the newly developed varieties, the Indian Agricultural Research Station (ARS), Mannuthy, of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has come out with production and supply of ready-to-plant plantlets of ginger and turmeric and rooted single nod cuttings of tapioca (cassava). This is stated in an aricle on the New Indian Express

These plantlets are produced by a mass multiplication technique for large-scale production of planting materials of crops like tapioca, ginger and turmeric.

This method helps derive more plantlets from rhizomes, considerably reducing the quantity of rhizomes required for planting and also lead to uniform maturing of the crop.

In the traditional multiplication method, cut pieces of rhizomes are used for making plantlets of ginger and turmeric while multiple nodded cuttings are used for generating tapioca plantlets. In the case of ginger and turmeric, farmers require an average of six to eight kg of seed material for planting in one cent (40 sq m) under traditional method.

Under the mass multiplication method, an average of 500 plants is obtained from one kg of seed material. In case of tapioca, 50-60 rooted cuttings can be prepared from a 3m-long cassava stem which is 5-6 times more than the output of traditional method, U Jayakumaran, Head of the ARS, said.

In the mass multiplication method, rhizomes are cut into single node pieces, soaked in a mixture of insecticide and fungicide solution for 10-15 minutes and planted in portrays filled with good quality coir pith compost. The trays are kept in propagating structures covered with UV stabilised polythene sheet.

Irrigation is required only when the media is dry. The rhizome pieces germinate within two weeks and good mass of roots are observed within a period of three weeks.

Similarly for cassava, mass multiplication is achieved by using stem cuttings having single buds and planting these cuttings in portrays with 5cm cavity size. The other preparatory steps are similar to that of ginger and turmeric.

The plantlets get ready for planting within a month. Mass multiplied plantlets can be kept in portrays for a maximum of 6-8 weeks with sufficient fertigation, Sreelatha M U, scientist at the ARS, said.

Agricultural Research Station, Mannuthy, will provide rooted plantlets of tapioca, ginger and turmeric based on the demand from the public, KAU officials said.


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