AEROPONIC POTATO MINI TUBER PRODUCTION SYSTEM
Considered as one of the major breakthrough in agricultural research and innovation, aeroponics is the latest discovery that could open a world of opportunities for potato growers and minituber producers.
Advantages of this technology:
• Through the conventional system, 3-6 mini-tubers per plant are obtained while through the aeroponics technique, a yield of 80-100 tubers per plant can be obtained.
• The aeroponic seeds grow roots hanging in complete darkness (in dark plastic bags) and are nourished by a spray system. They are free from infectious disease and produce up to 20 times more seeds than conventional techniques.
• The technique needs lesser number of generations of seed potato multiplication in the field, thus lowering costs.
• This facility is the first of its kind in the country and has a very good potential for rapid multiplication of seed potatoes. However, there is need to invest in manpower since aeroponics operations need knowledge, skills and dedication.
• The seeds can be harvested at any seed size – from 5 to 30 grams – since the fertilizing sprays that are applied to the roots allow the plant to grow without interrupting its vegetative cycle of up to 180 days. Again, this is not possible with conventional techniques.
• This technique can lower costs by eliminating some generations of multiplication compared to the conventional method.
• The cost of growing a tuber using aeroponics is about one-quarter the cost of a conventionally grown tuber.
• This new technology offers higher yields per plant, and, in the long-term, at a significantly lower cost. Aeroponic systems require much less water and fewer fertilizers than conventional systems-
• The potato seed roots are suspended in the air in closed containers, the plants are free from pathogens (disease). Also, the aeroponic system promotes excellent circulation of air which strengthens the roots.
• Aeroponics system provides precise plant nutrient requirements for the crop, thereby reducing fertilizer requirements and minimizing the excessive fertilizer residues moving into the subterranean water table.
• Aeroponics has a number of potential attributes to make seed potato production more efficient. The technique also has very low requirement in terms of space as the mini-tubers are multiplied in greenhouses.