Pakistan: Optimism about potato exports

AS potato harvesting and exports gain momentum, farmers from central Punjab’s potato belt expect 20pc additional yield and better exports this year. Officials have set a target of 3.6m tonnes from just over 400,000 acres sown this season, while farmers think that the production can go up to 4.3m tonnes. In view of the expected output, growers worry that the current price level may drop if exports do not gain momentum. The porous borders with both Iran and Afghanistan helped informal potato trade, and Afghanistan played a big role. According to farmers, both these countries have bought substantial quantity of the commodity in the last few months. The formal export process is also gaining momentum because the Russians slapped a ban on potato imports from Egypt and Bangladesh last year which is still in place. And a new market, Yemen, has opened up this year. Even bigger help in the potato exports has come from some domestic investors. Those involved in kinnow exports have entered the potato processing over the last two years. More