Along with all field of sciences agriculture has also made a lot of wonderful innovations. How we can get potato chips and ketchup together has become possible through pomato technique. Pomato plant was first produced in breeding institute in Germany dating back to 1977 but it was successful produced tomatoes and potatoes in 1994 at Thungen in Germany. It was named “Tom Tato” in United Kingdom. In Pakistan University of Agriculture Faisalabad, it was named as “Tamalo” (Urdu: Tamator and Aalo). Both potato and tomato belong to solanaceous family so naturally they are compatible to graft. So, by grafting tomato as scion on potato as rootstock plant we get pomato. We normally use cherry type potato as scion and white potato as rootstock by side grafting. Both cherry and big size tomato are successfully grown. Pomato is 100% natural plant and no GMO is involved so, it is safe to use. Grafting of eggplant on potato plant (brinjal and potato together) has also successfully done.
In side grafting, we grow both tomato and potato of the same height (normally 7 inch to 11 inch). Make similar cuts about one third on shoots having same thickness at same height. Press the both wounds and tie them with grafting tap or polythene sheet as is done in side grafting method. 2 to 3 weeks after remove the basal portion of tomato and upper portion of potato at matrix. When cut is heal up then remove the tap/polythene. When tomato fruits are ready to harvest, dig up the plant from soil. We can also use wedge grafting technique. A “V” shaped cut is made at lower side of the tomato shoot. By cutting the top portion of the potato shoot of similar thickness, make a cut in the middle of the top portion of the shoot. Insert the tomato shoot into potato shoot. Wrap with tap or polythene sheet until union is heal up. In both techniques it should be ensured that while making cut maximum cambium should be exposed and during union cambium portion of the shoots should be matched.
Pomato technology is very useful in utilizing less space and producing more crop. Low costs of inputs have made it useful for poor farmers having low land. Kitchen gardeners can get benefit from this technique. Research has shown that pomato has resistance to bacteria, viruses and fungi. Plant attracts a more deferent kind of pollinators. It is easy to grow as no special nutrients or special managements are required. Both in field and green houses are suitable for it production. Despite of the fact that pomato is certified but in certain conditions plant produce poison. More over Pakistan has no issue regarding land so potato and tomato can be grown separately. Pomato have no seed. Every time you have to graft the plants. Some time we get fungal problems in union of two plants due to moisture. Unsterilized razors and knives may produce problems. Unskilled labor or negligence can also destroy the pomato crop.
By Mujahid Ali, Dr. C.M. Ayyub and Dr. Muhammad Azam
Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad