Potato a silver lining for Pakistan’s food insecurity in post-COVID era

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ISLAMABAD, Sep. 29 : Potato a silver lining for Pakistan’s food insecurity in post-COVID-19 era, Gwadar Pro reported on Tuesday. To gain bumper harvest, one key secret is good timing, said a spokesman of the Agriculture (Extension) Department. Farmers have been advised to start cultivating potatoes immediately and complete it by mid-October to get bumper yield.

Its cultivation and yield are extremely important forPakistanas the country faces the difficulties combined by novel coronavirus, locust attacks and flood damage.

Potatoes, as the fourth most important crop by volume of production, will play a crucial role in combating food insecurity in the post-COVID-19 era.

Their cultivation areas have been increasing. It stood at 3000 hectares in 1946 (independence time). In FY2019-2020, the total area of potato cultivation reached 440,000 acres and the total production remained 4,381,470 tons, according to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR).

Among the total area of potato cultivation,Punjab’s share accounts for up to above 90 percent. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa took the second rank with around 5 percent.  Remaining share is produced byBaluchistanand Sindh.

“Almost 37% of Pakistan’s population is food insecure, even though Pakistan is self-sufficient in major staples, and the main problem is access and affordability of food,” said Shaikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

The Crop Protection Association ofPakistanChairman Jamshed Iqbal Cheema called for changing eating habits towards those crops that had a high potential like potato, maize, cow milk.