ISLAMABAD: Export of potatoes rose 9.8 per cent mainly because of robust production of the vegetable.
The data was shared by the Ministry of Commerce in a written reply to a question by MNA Riaz-ul-Haq, who sought details from the ministry regarding production of potatoes as well as exports.
Potatoes are the fourth most significant crop in terms of bulk production after wheat, rice and maize.
Potato export value rose 9.8pc to $87.39m in 2020–21, up from $79.59m the previous year. This value is expected to grow further in the current fiscal year owing to a greater yield of potatoes in the current fiscal year.
Total potato production recorded at 5.742m tonnes in 2020–21, up from 4.428m tonnes the previous year, representing a 29.67pc increase. Punjab’s potato yields were 5.682m tonnes in 2020–21, accounting for 98.95pc of total production in the country.
Three other provinces — Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh — contributed to the remaining yields of potatoes in the country.
The National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) is involved in tissue culture and aeroponic potato seed production on a commercial scale, and potato yield should be increased to 26-28 tonnes per hectare in the next three years, with a total production of 5.4 to 5.6m tonnes in the country.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research, through the Pakistan Agriculture and Research Council, took several steps to increase production of potatoes in the country.
As per details, more than 20 new exotic potato varieties have been approved by the Variety Evaluation Committee (VEC) in the past three years for registration by the Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department. These new varieties were selected on the basis of high yield and disease resistance.
The NARC is involved in tissue culture commercialisation in Pakistan through potato nucleus seed production. CIP-China and Gansu Agriculture University will provide technical inputs for evaluation and DNA fingerprinting and germplasm collection.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022