China puts spotlight on spuds

When it comes to the potato, Feng Xiaoyan gets rhapsodic. “Potatoes are tasty, the flavor is fresh. The more you eat them, the more they’re on your mind,” Ms. Feng has crooned on Chinese television. She has commissioned several songs extolling the potato, including “Potato, Potato, Potato” and “Our Potato, Little Round Potato.” The 51-year-old potato farmer-turned-entrepreneur is on a mission to turn the potato into a culinary staple in China, where rice and noodles have ruled for millennia. She picked up a powerful ally this year. The government announced that it wants to turn the New World spud into a key part of the diet for the country’s 1.3 billion population. The push is in part environmental: The country’s land is badly parched, and crops like rice and wheat are far more water-intensive than the low-maintenance potato. Food security is also a consideration. More