‘India’s share in global potato trade is 0.5 percent’

December 11th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) India may be the third largest potato producer in the world but its contribution to global potato trade is merely half a percent, industry officials and experts participating in the Global Potato Conference said here Thursday.”India has the required production technologies and the produce is free from major diseases, which provide significant opportunity for export of potato products,” said Mangala Rai, secretary at the Department of Agricultural Research and Education.

India is the third largest potato producer in the world with an annual yield of around 26 million tonnes. This is of more concern for India as it has drastically failed to export its potato produce.

“This conference would help us achieve more exports,” a senior official at the agriculture ministry said.

The year 2008 has been declared as the ‘International Year of the Potato’ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN - a status given only to potato after rice.

The Shimla-based Indian Potato Association, along with the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is celebrating the international year by organising the conference Dec 9-12.

More than 400 scientists, trade and industry personnel and policy makers from the US, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Japan, and many Asian countries are attending the conference.

According to S.K. Pandey, director of the Shimla-based CPRI, India has seen a record production of horticultural crops.

This, he said, was made possible with the launch of mega schemes such as the National Food Security Mission, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and the National Horticulture Mission coupled with research initiatives.

Going by the trend seen in the past, the government expects horticulture production to double from 150 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 300 million tonnes by 2011-12.

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