Muhammad Umair Yasin*1, Hina Ahmed Malik2.
1Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
2Soil Agriculture Research Center Lab D-138, Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
*Corresponding author’s email: [email protected]
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is world’s most important crop being grown on more than 18 million hectares all around the world. After wheat, maize and rice it is most important crop. The potato is the world’s most important root and tuber crop worldwide. More than 125 countries grow the potato and more than 1 billion people daily use it in any form. Potato is symbol of survival for thousands of people. Often it is said if there are no potatoes world has to face food insecurity. Potato got very popular among developing countries due to its easy cultivation, nutritive value, yield and easy handling. Developing countries are now the world’s biggest producers and importers of potatoes and potato products. Potato is used as human food (directly or fresh use as food, snacks or processed potato, starches) and animal feed. The development of an economically profitable, vibrant and ultimately sustainable potato subsector in developing countries totally dependent on measures to overcome a number of persistent constraints. With the improvement in the quality of planting material, potato varieties use less water, having greater resistance to insect pests and diseases and resilience in the face of climate changes and farming systems that make more sustainable use of natural resources all are measures included in good potato production. Not least, agricultural development and potato development in general requires authorization of small farmers through improved access to production inputs, credit and markets. These strategies present a compilation of potato management practices in use in tropical and subtropical developing countries that have helped increase potato productivity and ultimately potato production. They can be distinguished to address particular conditions in precise locations. The publication provides indicators of sustainability, and highlights potential areas of enhancement for potato development. While aimed mainly at decision makers, the manual tries as much as possible to use language aware to farmers.
All around the world especially in Pakistan the Potato demand is being shifted from fresh to processed. Although it is being used as fresh but demand for processed potato is increasing day by day. In Pakistan on an average 4 million tons potato (fine and coarse) is produced in major potato growing areas. More than 2 lac tons is processed by 2,3 leading companies including PepsiCo (fritolays), United Snacks (Kashmir Banaspati), Candyland and Kurleez.
Potato is also being processed at small scales industries at towns at city level i.e. fry-chicks, Mcdonalds, KFC and also by vendor companies kims etc. Big potato processing companies are expending their business to new potato areas which is good step for sustaining production. As like sugar cane and cotton potato is also considered as cash crop. These companies are playing a role in market stability, while they are moving to no potato areas with development and awareness to farmers it will be a good step for country economy. As an example Multan is not a true potato zone Pepsico moved to Multan now farmers are adopting potato in their cropping system. They are also establishing their processing unit at Multan for ease of access. As this is a good step for improving the economy of the farmers it also will sustain the economy of the nation. They also shifted to Jehlam, Gilgit and Gojra. Now farmers are getting edge of a multinational company which is providing better price as compared to market. It is beneficial for overall well-being of these regions.
Before expanding their business to these new areas they and their market competitor were just on only focusing on Depalpur, Kasur, Sahiwal, Arif Wala and Chichawatni but now their attention has been diverted and competitors are also focusing on these areas.
In potato growing areas it is sown after maize and rice. It is very rare when it is cultivated in fallow land. As it is well known present food requirement for food is increased and farmer is not willing at any cost to left his field vacant for even one or two months. As due to lack of resources and awareness no organic matter is being added to soil, even rice straws are burnt due to hurry of sowing. Maize is extremely exhaustive crop and rice is also exhaustive. After rice or maize potato is also exhaustive cop, while there are no organic matter addition soils are being degraded day by day, due to intense cropping system. There must be some research and awareness regarding soil degradation in potato-maize cropping system. Research should be conducted in effects and benefits of green manuring in these systems. Focus should be given while we are degrading our thousand acres of precious land.
Some progressive farmers are doing green manuring at experimental level. But this is .001%, negligible. Awareness regarding green manuring and restorative crop should be developed.