Pakistan: Imports of seed potatoes have been cut in half
Imports of seed potato have been reduced by 50 per cent as a result of strong public-private partnership in locally-certified potato production through planning and technical assistance.
Ahead of the start of the potato growing season, the Variety Evaluation Committee of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council has recommended improving the quality of local certified potato seed through tissue culture laboratories, and proposed the establishment of a national potato institute.
Potato is the most important crop in Pakistan after cereals with a potential of earning a significant amount for foreign exchange.
Potato growing season is now under way in the country with almost the end of monsoon season. The target set for 2016-17 is 3.8 million tonnes, whereas the domestic potato requirement is 3m tonnes. Roughly one million tonnes of surplus potato is available for export.
The main exporting countries are Afghanistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Russia, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.
According to officials of the National Agricultural Research Centre in Islamabad, seed is one of the important factors that determine the productivity of potato crop. Farmers in Pakistan, with the help of seed obtained through an informal seed system, are able to get an average yield of 20 tonnes potato per hectare.