RAMBAN Sept 26- Gool and Sanasar areas of Ramban district are fast emerging as hub for the production of unique low sugar-content potatoes.
With constant efforts of the government, the farms in these areas have witnessed steep increase in production of this unique potato as well as seeds which are being supplied to entire hilly belt of Jammu province for cultivation. Apart from these areas, seeds from these farms are also being supplied to Samba and Jammu for winter cultivation starting from January.
Potato is the main vegetable crop in the Ramban and the district is playing leading role in its seed production followed by supply to other districts. The farms are growing on an average 1200 qtls of Potato seeds in a year which are supplied to the hilly areas of Jammu province leaving behind one part of production in the stores located at Sanasar and Ishakunda and Narsingha of Gool for local level distribution. In these farms, the facility of grading potatoes in different stages is also available.
The main varieties of seeds grown in Gool and Sanasar include Kufri Jyoti, K-Giriraj, K- Himalini, K-Chandermukhi and PP-48. Out of all these varieties the last one is procured from Pehalgam district of Kashmir.
Located at an altitude of 7500-8500 feet with 71 acres areas having yielding capacity of 1000 qtls seeds production, Sanasar have potential of returning 20-25 lakhs annually.
Similarly two farms of Gool situated at Ishakunda and Narsingha at an altitude of 5500-6500 feet from sea level are spread over to 12 and 40 acres land respectively are also adding to the state exchequer. The auction of grasses in bunds and abandoned area of farm is conducted every year.
The three farms are providing earning source to the locals who are working there and on an average 10,000 man days are generated in a year.
To further boost the production, this year department is going to introduce tractors and other mechanised tools like potato planter and potato digger in these farms. Before this, the cultivation was made with the help of traditional plough and techniques prevalent since 1980s when farms were established.
The annual production from the farms is divided into two parts; one part is dispatched to cold store at Bishna near Jammu and other part is distributed among local farmers who develop the potato fields with their traditional methods and earn huge amount after selling the produce locally and in the urban markets.
Pertinently, the potatoes grown in cold areas are less prone to disease and have comparatively low sugar content.
With temperature ranging between 0-30 degree Celsius, there is not much requirement of cold stores in Gool and Sanasar. All the three farms of Ramban grow disease free and sugar free potatoes commonly chosen and liked by the people especially during fasting. In Navratras, the farmers earn huge profit from the produce.
Potato seeds from the district are also provided to the farmers of Jammu and Samba for winter crop the cultivation of which begins in the month of January and harvesting in the month of April. At that time potato produce in Kashmir province gets exhausted and thus, farmers of Jammu and Samba earn huge amount by supplying Potatoes to the Valley.