Potato farming is a common food and cash crop in the mountains of Uttarakhand, India. In recent years, climate change has led to heavier rainfalls. Fields remain wet longer, leading to rotted potato seed during planting. Pratap Singh, an innovative farmer from Jaintha village, found a simple yet effective way to improve germination of potato seed in these increasingly wet conditions. Pratap cuts the potatoes into pieces with eye buds for use as seed and leaves these pieces to dry several days before sowing. Instead of sowing the seed randomly in flat fields, he prepares soil ridges on which he plants them in lines. These changes allowed for better air flow in the soil and faster removal of moisture. leading to germination rates of nearly 100 percent.
Prolinnova identified the potential for Singh’s innovation to have far-reaching impact. The helped document and disseminate the technique. Now, 20 farmers in his village and 25 farmers from nearby villages have taken up this new technique. You can view Prolinnova’s write up of this innovation here.
This unique seed drying method produces higher, more consistent yields. Farmers and their communities improve their food security (as well as health and nutrition). Higher and consistent yields also create a more dependable source of income. Having a regular and reliable source of income has helped improve the rural economies. Communities have also become more resilient after implementing this practice.