Farmers in North Tanna were surprised to see the positive result of the potato trials harvested by three potato farmers in their area.
Potato planting trials have been implemented in all areas on Tanna except North Tanna. This year, a trial was established to evaluate if potato can grow well there.
Potato is one of the main crops that most farmers on Tanna have high interest on for income generation and food security over the years.
“The purpose of this potato trial is for the North Tanna farmers to see the result that will convince them as to whether or not potato can grow well in their area.
“These trials were done in Green Hill and coastal area of Imaien, North East of Tanna,” Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) for North Tanna and same time Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD)’s Potato Specialist, who was trained in Australia, Isaac Iaruel stated.
The potato seeds were planted on August this year and were harvested recently.
“Many farmers in the area do not know what potato plants look like. Most of them thought they were flowers when they came past the potato plots.
“A field day was organized during the harvesting of potatoes and many farmers were surprised to see that potatoes can grow well too in North Tanna and an awareness was also done on potato especially its nutritional and economic values,” AAO Iaruel said.
There are 30 key potato farmers on Tanna island and out of that number, only three farmers in North Tanna have shown interest.
There were 30 kilos of potato seeds, 10 kilos each for the three farmers. The farmers were advised to intercrop potato with taro and see the difference between potato and taro.
Mr Iaruel says, “The results in North Tanna indicated that for one potato seed, with new soil, it can produce 10 to 25 spuds or potatoes.
“To compare this result with other areas on Tanna, the trials were implemented in different soils and climate so in West Tanna, one seed can produce 8 potatoes, good market size.
“In south, one seed produced eight to fifteen spuds.
“So with these results the Department of Agriculture on Tanna now knows the areas that potato can grow well and produce more spuds per plant or mount and the exact month of planting.”
Potato planting season is from April to September.