The potato reached India in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, most likely aboard ships from Portugal. Today, India ranks as the world's third largest potato producing nation, with production in 2007 of around 26 million tonnes.
Between 1960 and 2000, potato production increased by almost 850 percent, partly in response to growing demand from higher-income urban populations. Since 1990, per capita consumption has risen from around 12 kg to 17 kg a year.
In India, the aloo is not primarily a rural staple but a cash crop that provides significant income for farmers: the value of the 2005 harvest is estimated at $3.6 billion and exports totaled about 80 000 tonnes that year.
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Regional distribution of potato cultivation in India (CIP, World Potato Atlas)
Potato varieties suited to the country's climate - hot summers and short winters - are grown on the Indo-Gangetic plain during the short winter days from October to March, while some year-round production takes place in relatively high altitude areas in the south.
India's top potato growing states - states counting for more than 1% of the national production, shown below - are included in PotatoPro as a separate region.