Disease-free potato seed to increase volume, quality

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From MALUM NALU in Mt Hagen
AGRICULTURE and Livestock Secretary Dr Vela Ila’ava has commended the Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) for its work in developing the potato industry in the country.
Ila’ava yesterday visited a seed potato farm at Panga outside Mt Hagen.
FPDA elite seed production manager Gabriel Aipanga showed Ila’ava the seed potato farm where disease-free seeds are grown for distribution to farmers in Western Highlands, the Highlands region and other parts of the country.
Aipanga explained that seed farmers were certified by the FPDA to carry out this task, which was checked out regularly by seed inspectors, to ensure disease-free seeds were distributed.
“This is a very highly specialised programme,” Ila’ava told The National.
“Farmers are well-trained, which just goes to show that farmers will do well, if we support them through training and others.
“I’m very impressed with the programme of the FPDA, which is doing a very good job.
“There is also strong interest shown in our seeds by Vanuatu and other Pacific countries.”
“We have the inspection and certification function, and elite seed production,” he told The National.
“The purpose of elite seed production is to increase volume and production of quality seeds in the country.
“Every month, we get 12,000 plantlets from Aiyura (Eastern Highlands), which are planted at our screen houses in Tambul (Western Highlands).”
“The seeds are then distributed to certified seed farmers in Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands and Enga,” he said.
“Our job is to increase and maintain the volume that is required by our farmers.”

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