Root and tuber crops are indispensable in tribal areas as they play crucial role in food and nutritional security of the tribals. Under Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), systematic efforts were undertaken to improve the productivity of root and tuber crops by careful application of improved technologies.

During the year 2013-2014, the Regional Centre of Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Dumuduma, Bhubaneswar, India, under the Tribal Sub Plan selected three states ie., Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha for implementation of TSP. The primary aim of the programme was to enhance the food security and livelihood through introduction of tuber crops technologies . All the three states are comprised of hilly and plateau terrain. Ranchi district in Jharkhand, Narayanpur district in Chhattisgarh, and Kandhamal and Koraput districts in Odisha, were selected for the present programme. All these districts are dominated by tribals. A total of 205 tribal farmers were selected for conducting 310 demonstrations on tuber crops technologies. High yielding varieties were also introduced as technological interventions. Quality planting materials of greater yam (Orissa Elite) 6000 kg, elephant foot yam 8000 kg, taro (Muktakeshi) 6000 kg, yam bean (RM-1) 100 kg, sweet potato (ST14 and Kishan) 100000 vine cuttings and cassava (Sree Jaya, Sree Vijaya and Vellayani Hraswa) 9000 setts were used for the demonstrations. The area covered in all the three states together were 3.0 ha under greater yam, 1.6 ha under elephant foot yam, 3.0 ha under taro, 10 ha under yam bean, 1.25 ha under sweet potato and 0.9 ha under cassava.

The cultivation of high yielding varieties of tuber crops like elephant foot yam, greater yam, yam bean, sweet potato, cassava and taro hold promise in the hilly and plateau regions of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand states of India. The study indicated that root and tuber crops play significant role in the improvement of livelihood security and income of tribal farmers.

Capacity building of farmers

Capacity building training programmes were organized for the tribal farmers three in Ranchi, two in Narayanpur districts and one each in Kandhamal and Koraput districts on root and tuber crops production and value addition. Two exposure visits for the tribal farmers to the Regional Centre of Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Bhubaneswar were organized to train the tribal farmers on root and tuber crops production and value addition. Value addition on tuber crops at CTCRI, Trivandrum during March 24 -29, 2014 in which field functionaries of implementing centers were trained.

Quantity of planting materials of tuber crops distributed to the tribal farmers

State Yam (Kg) EFY (Kg) SP (Vine cuttings) Yam Bean (Kg) Cassava (Sett) Colocasia (Kg)
Odisha 4000 2000 100000 50 5000 2000
Jharkand 1000 3000 - 25 2000 2000
Chhattisgarh 1000 3000 - 25 2000 2000
Total 6000 8000 100000 100 9000 6000

Area (ha) covered by the tuber crops interventions

State Yam EFY SP Yam Bean Cassava Colocasia
Odisha 2.0 0.4 1.25 5.0 0.5 1.0
Jharkand 0.5 0.6 - 2.5 0.2 1.0
Chhattisgarh 0.5 0.6 - 2.5 0.2 1.0
Total 3.0 1.6 1.25 10.0 0.9 3.0