China to bring Potato technology to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Modern Chinese technology and high-quality seeds will be used in Pakistan to boost potato output and help the country’s potatoes gain a foothold in the Chinese market, reports WealthPK.
Badaruz Zaman, Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing, said Pakistan is one of the world’s largest potato growers. “The local consumption is estimated to be between 4 and 5 million tonnes. We will have a decent excess quantity to export to other countries. We’ve also brought the matter up with the Chinese authorities and are integrating Chinese machinery into several processing factories in Pakistan. Fried and well-preserved shelved potatoes are highly expensive compared to farm potatoes; therefore, we need to enhance the entire process,” Zaman said in a recent meeting.
Waqas Dogar, a scientist at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), told WealthPK that in terms of bringing the potato crop into the modern age of plant breeding, hybrid potatoes and hybrid potato technologies were truly outstanding.
“If Pakistan can replicate the methodology used in winter fields in southern China, we may be able to successfully address the food security crisis. Due to its high-yielding seed variety and efficiency, China has reached a very high yield per hectare. China’s post-harvest processing is equally impressive, as the country makes extensive use of machines and the process is highly automated,” he said.
If similar practices are implemented in Pakistan, he believes the country will be able to improve its potato output. He also mentioned Chakwal as a booming destination for potato agriculture, claiming that the increased yield in these places was primarily due to better irrigation facilities. Pakistan needs an efficient seed delivery system, new seed kinds, technical capability, and farmer training, but it allocates insufficient resources to seed systems, he said.
‘’In the worldwide market, our potatoes are among the greatest in the world.

Pakistan exports 1.4 million tonnes of potatoes to the foreign market every year. The average potato yield in Pakistan is roughly 10 tonnes per acre. Potato exports climbed 10% from $78 million in 2019-2020 to $86 million in 2020-2021. China is Pakistan’s largest potential market for potato exports.

‘’Since imported seeds are expensive, most farmers rely on low-quality seeds owing to a lack of cash, resulting in low yields. China intends to assist us in all of these areas,’’ he said.
Potato has become an important crop for both farmers and consumers in Pakistan over the years. It is the fourth most significant crop in terms of production volume and provides the farmers with good yields and returns.

Potato has a high nutritional value, providing more protein and iron than other vegetables in the usual diet, as well as thiamine, niacin, and a variety of other elements, including fiber, according to the NARC scientist.
Dogar said Punjab, which includes Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Jhang, Narowal, Pak Pattan, Gujranwala, T.T Singh, Khanewal, and Lahore, accounts for over approximately 86 percent of Pakistan’s potato acreage and output. Although potato as a sub-sector of agriculture in Pakistan is doing well, the country has yet to tap into the worldwide market’s huge potential for frozen potato, potato flour, and French fries.

He said because of the ever-changing nature of things and the challenges that come with it, to compete in the international market, Pakistan must constantly assess its performance, identify restrictions and gaps in this sub-sector, and take actions along the value chain to boost its competitiveness. If the intervention is done correctly, it can be more successful.

Since each cluster may have its unique socio-economic and political circumstances, the analysis is based on cluster-specific environmental conditions.