Bumper potato crop expected to bring in record foreign exchange
Islamabad, January 14, 2016 (PPI-OT): The country is expecting record production of potato this year. The potato harvest is under way in Punjab which grows over 90 percent of the crop in the country. Initial estimates put the potato yield at 3.71 million tons. The provincial production breakup is expected as 3550 thousand tons (Punjab), 4.5 thousand tons (Sindh), 126.9 thousand tons (KPK) and 35 thousand tons (Baluchistan). This was stated by Secretary NFSR Seerat Asghar at a briefing at Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
The Secretary further added that the bumper crop would not only keep the local prices of potato stable but it is a huge opportunity to earn foreign exchange as well. The Secretary reiterated that record increase in export to Russia, Sri Lanka and Turkey is expected this year. Due to influx of migrants, the demand for potato is on the rise in Europe and this may offer a good opportunity to Pakistan.
The Secretary stated that in current unfavourable conditions, this record production may prove a sigh of relief for farmers as they may get good returns for their produce. It is high time to explore new markets for the export of surplus agri-produce. The secretary brushed aside the rumours and reiterated that there is no restriction on potato export nor any duty has been imposed. The ministry is taking adequate measures to ensure local market balance as well as facilitating export.
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Haji Ahmed Malik
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