Farmers in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture step up efforts to grow more spuds; new processing variety

A potato farmer shows off his Nagasaki Kogane (Nagasaki Gold) potatoes in Matsuura, Nagasaki Prefecture. | KYODOPotato growers in Nagasaki Prefecture, the nation’s second-largest spud-producing region, are pinning their hopes on a new disease-resistant variety to avoid another crop shortage of the kind that halted sales of chips and other snack products this year. The prefecture plans to expand the cultivation of the tasty new variety, Nagasaki Kogane (Nagasaki Gold), suitable for chips and other processed products, as it expects strong demand driven by popular takeaway items such as fries and croquettes. According to the Japan Snack Cereal Foods Association, the volume of potato chip shipments in Japan rose by over 30 percent between 2004 and 2016. That compares to a 10 percent decline in the shipment of potatoes over the 2005-2015 period, according to the farm ministry. Demand had already outstripped supply. More