Potatoes are a significant commodity for Afghanistan, with a strong domestic market and a seasonally fluctuating import and export market. Seventy percent of potatoes in Afghanistan are grown in Bamyan province. Support from the international community has improved the storage capabilities for potatoes, which is a major source of loss in the potato market.
The agro-climatic conditions of Afghanistan are ideally suitable for good quality potato production. Production is concentrated in nine provinces: Bamyan, Nangarhar Panjsher, Parwan, Samangan, Sarepul, Takhar, Uruzgan and Wardak, although more than 70 percent of production comes from Bamyan province alone.
The most popular potato varieties grown in Afghanistan are Safed gul, Be gul, Sabz gul, Sorkh gul (Lavkar), Chandramukhi, Cardinal and Desiree. Chandramukhi, Lavkar, Cardinal and Desiree are exotic varieties imported from India and Pakistan in 2002. In 2003 the International Potato Center (CIP) also introduced three new potato varieties - Kufri Jyoti, Kufri Badshah and Diamond in Nangarhar province.
Due to favorable conditions and the successful control of crop diseases, potato production in Afghanistan is estimated to increase by three percent, or 312,000 metric tons (MT), in MY2014/15 (April/March). Potato production increased by 32 percent in MY2013/14 compared to MY2012/13. Area for potato cultivation in Afghanistan is estimated at nearly 23,500 ha with an average yield of 13.5 MT/ha in MY 2014/15. Bamyan and Nangarhar provinces typically have the highest yield at approximately 20-22 MT/ha.
Potatoes are mostly grown during spring in high mountain valleys and during fall in the plains on irrigated lands. Seed potatoes are obtained from the spring mountain potatoes and retained for both the fall planting and the following spring. Seed potatoes are stored primarily in hand-dug underground storage areas. There is little to no refrigerated storage in the country. However, in recent years the international community has provided training in proper seed production and storage techniques, and some private companies have established seed storages in Afghanistan.
Source: Agrochart.com (2014)