ISLAMABAD: The total requirement for potato is 3.75 million tonne in Pakistan and expected yield is 4.2 million tonne, of which 95 to 97 per cent is produced in Punjab and rest is produced in other provinces. In 2017-18 Punjab produced 4264.4 thousand tonnes (95.96 per cent) compared to 5.7 thousand tonnes (0.12 per cent) in Sindh, 152.6 thousand tonnes (3.063 per cent) in KPK and 22.6 thousand tonnes (0.9 per cent) in Balochistan.
Hence the availability remains continuous around the year from January to December. From December onwards up to January 20 new potato crop is available. The price structure also fluctuates from December to March. In 2018 it started from Rs33 per kg in January to Rs28.8 per kg in December, and after January 20, potato crops are prime for exports.
There have been rumours that the current government stopped or banned the potato export including a levied duty on the export of potatoes. The obvious reaction to this false news within the industry has caused unrest among the growers, traders and exporters. The farmers and growers are worst hit for they are worried regarding next season’s crop.
Ministry of National Food Security and Research reiterated that the news is entirely false and fictitious and holds no ground. Furthermore, the Ministry of National Food Security is committed to uplift the plight of the farmers and bring revolution in agriculture. This is obvious from the fact that the government entrusted a task to a task force for agriculture uplift within 100 days to bring revolutionary changes and come up with viable solutions. The spread of false news regarding the ban on potato export is condemnable, instead, the government of Pakistan is facilitating the traders and built a facilitation centre in Okara for the ease of exporters, here all three basic things including inspection, documentation and grant of SPS certificate will be done.
It is pertinent to mention that the import of potato is allowed for consumption purposes under SPS conditions and potato seed which is imported from one country is only allowed under stringent SPS rules to meet the seed requirements of the country.