Shrestha succeeds in inventing red potato seed production technology in Nepal

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Mr. Jagat Bahadur Shrestha, a resident of Bhimeshwor Municipality ward no-9 of Charikot, Dolakha, is a pioneer educationist, entrepreneur and visionary person in sustainable agriculture— serving the nation from swaths of city humdrum, a vigorous and extremely disciplined and ethical human being. He has been running three enterprises, i.e. a private boarding school, an industry and an agri-business TPS (True Potato Seeds).

Mr. Shrestha relinquished his profession as a travel guide and returned to Dolakha from Kathmandu long back with an aim of providing quality education, running industry and modern agriculture. He felt an urgent call from there and started a private boarding school, followed by industrial involvement and research on Potato Production through seeds. College Readers has met up with Mr. Shrestha where he shares his inspiring experience. Excerpts:

We have come to know that you have been running three distinctive enterprises at a time. Could you please tell us about your ventures?

I’m running three different businesses simultaneously although I started them one after another. I run Kalinchowk English Boarding School, Kalinchowk Wool Yarn and Carpet Industry; and Kalinchowk Ture Potato seeds (Kalinchwok TPS roots and improved seeds production company). Potato seed is produced in Nepal from private sector none other than Dolakha and by none other than Jagat Bahadur Shrestha.

How can you claim so confidently?

I produced white potato seeds for some years. Now, it’s produced in 3 areas of Nepal, namely Nigale of Sindhupalchowk, and Sarlahi by the government, and Dolakha by myself. While we talk about the seeds of Red Potato, it is produced only in Dolakha by me; and I distribute it nationwide. I became hundred percent successful to produce the red potato seeds by 2078 Ashadh end after the rigorous efforts of almost three decades. So, now with full confidence I claim the proposition.

What is the channel through which you distribute the seeds?

I used to provide the white potato seeds to NAARC and other private seed processing companies, from my home in Dolakha, but since red potato seeds production recently got a hundred percent success, I haven’t found any companies getting associated with me for marketing. I distribute it to my visitors where I visit only. Now, I am planning to produce it in a large scale and sell it throughout Nepal.

Who inspired you to plunge into potato seed production?

There are hundreds of avenues to materialize the national goal—Happy Nepali Prosperous Nepal. I feel responsible to contribute from my sector which will be an asset to fulfilling the national goal. The yield from red seed plantation is tastier and healthier in comparison to the traditional one. The ones who are involved in potato farming will get the direct monetary benefits while consumers get health and taste benefits. That way, one of the concepts of Happy Nepali, Prosperous Nepal will be fulfilled. I have promised to distribute delicious red potato seeds throughout Nepal within ten years.

Are you encouraged to continue your legacy by the government agencies? How do you manage your time as you are running three enterprises simultaneously?

I have been involved in potato seed production research project for 30 years. It’s an irritating task and without complete research it’s quite difficult to reach a meaningful conclusion. Although I do not have academic and theoretical base of agricultural science, my passion, hard work and continuation has bestowed on me appealing skills for research. I became completely aloof from the family, friends, society and even the state at the research phase. But after the success, it’s quite difficult for me to experience all sorts of ups and down too. Now, I have been successful and highly hopeful. But I still need financial assistance in the form of seed money, especially for seed storage house. I requested for two million rupees from the province government but have been provided one million rupees only. As a result, the seed storage house is yet to get completed. In fact, I don’t need money what I need is the infrastructure equipped enough for seed storage. If it is fulfilled, I can produce and provide delicious red potato seeds to whole Nepal.

Will the seeds you produce suitably yield potatoes in all regions, i.e. Mountains, Hills and Terai?

Yes, it gives good yield in all regions. Generally, seed is produced in high altitude and sowed it in lower altitude areas for its mass production. But seed production in Terai region doesn’t give crops that can be harvested in higher regions. A 2000-meter altitude is suitable for seeds production and the area I have been producing is 2600 mtrs. high.

What types of assistance do you accept for its marketing and branding?

I do not ask for grant money rather I request for infrastructures and networking. I will accept soft loans as well for preparing the infrastructure required for potato seed storage.

Have you been encouraged and recognized for the achievement from NAARC or other government agencies? Has the delicious Red Potato Seed been certified?

White potato seed has been long produced and certified by the government agencies. I still provide it to NAARC and other processing companies. But Red Potato Seed is still not produced by any other persons or government or private agencies than me. So, the scientists of NAARC are still in dilemma to accept the innovation as they have imprint in their mind that seed of red potato is almost impossible. Even in the national conference of farmers, our agriculture scientists outrightly ignored the research finding and denied the fact I presented among the delegates stating that possibility of red potato seed production is a hoax. It’s pathetic to share such miserable situation of agriculture scientists of Nepal.

Have you got any chance to demonstrate the red potato seed production procedure to the scientists who outrightly denied you?

No, I haven’t got any opportunity to elucidate the procedure. Research is a long and painstaking procedure which took me more than 15 years to prepare a male counterpart for red potato seed production. Maybe because of other reasons they deny the fact.

Is it true that the seed security and patent rights of red potato seeds are with you?I have requested my municipality for supporting me to register and prepare the complete documentary of red potato seed production process. But they have now turned me deaf ears. I hope after they realize the importance, they will support me. Frankly speaking, I am busy with my work, and I am not good at process documentation skills. Besides some still photos and videos of my work, I have not prepared any documents. However, I have informed the secretary of Bagmati

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