Potato is one of the very rare cases in which Pakistan is not just self-sufficient for domestic use and seed development, but also an exporter.
In the first four months of current fiscal year, overall vegetable exports of Pakistan swelled by 90% in quantity and 57% in value thanks to brisk potato shipments.
“Vegetables were exported every year depending on their availability but potato and onion hold a big share. A bumper potato crop has proved highly helpful in offsetting the falling exports of onion,” said Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief of All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA).
Last year, floods in Sindh and Balochistan devastated onion crops, while potato production soared to 7.937 million tonnes in FY22 from 5.873 million tonnes in FY21, up by 35% as floods did not hit Punjab, which is a hub of potato production.
However, the industry is still facing a lot of challenges. “Potato is not a crop for poor people because its initial cost of production is high. Some 35-40% of the cost goes to seeds,” said Syed Ijazul Hassan, Director of Potato Research Institute.
The article originally appeared on the China Economic Net
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2023.
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