Technology assessment, transfer of tuber crops technologies and generation of socio-economic and impact information on tuber crops are done by this section. Various means and modes of technology transfer are 1.On farm trials, 2.front Line demonstrations, Field days, Farmers Seminar, Extension Literature etc. Visitor service is another important work of this section. Development and maintenance of the website of the institute, online agro advisory, cyber extension, bioinformatics, development of statistical applications for tuber crops research, market studies and other economic applications, studies on consumer preferences etc. are some of the other activities going on in the section.
The tuber crops technologies generated at the Institute are being assessed through farmers' participatory programmes for further refinement and transfer. Through this approach four varieties two each in cassava (Sree Jaya and Sree Vijaya) and sweet potato (Sree Arun and Sree Varun) have been released and found that these varieties have been well accepted by the farmers. Similarly in case of yam, production-system specific promising accessions of greater yam, lesser yam and white yam for Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have been identified through FPR approach. Currently, FPR trials in cassava in Maharashtra is in progress.
Intensive surveys were conducted to estimate the demand projections for cassava starch which indicated that 0.66, 0.83, 0.99 lakh tonnes will be the demand by 2010-11, 0.95, 1.19, 1.43 lakh tonnes and by 2015-16, 1.37, 1.72 and 2.06 lakh tonnes will be the requirement at 2.0%, 2.5% and 3% level of starch use respectively in the paper industry.
Techno-economic feasibility reports have been brought out on cassava starch, sago, sago wafers, cassava flour, fired food products, arrowroot starch, cold water miscible starch, liquid adhesive and sweet potato pasta for prospective entrepreneurs. Market systems of tuber crops particularly cassava, elephant foot yam, taro and yams were studied in the major production and marketing centres throughout the country; different market channels have been identified and price spread estimated.
The tuber crops production technologies are being popularised amongst the tribal population of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh etc. The Institute has also undertaken a programme of testing and popularisation of improved varieties of cassava through on-farm trials in five districts viz. Tirunelveli, Salem, Namakkal, Erode and Dharmapuri of Tamil Nadu, since 1997. As a result of this, the high yielding variety H-165 is getting popular in Mekkara region of Tirunelveli district and Sree Visakhom and Sree Jaya in Salem region, especially for consumption purpose
The outreach programmes of the Institute include the Lab to Land Programme (LLP) launched in 1979 to link technology generators with the actual users viz. farmers. About 1600 farmers of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa were benefited under the programme which however concluded in 1996. Under the Institution-Village Linkage Programme (IVLP) implemented since 1996 among 1000 farm families, more than 80 technological interventions which were assessed with active cooperation of the farmers; this programme is limited to only one village namely Chenkal in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala.