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Potato field in Punjab, Pakistan taken on March 7, 2011 (Courtesy: Stolid Flower)

Potato field in Punjab, Pakistan taken on March 7, 2011 (Courtesy: Stolid Flower)

The total requirement of potato in Pakistan is 3.75 million ton and expected yield is 4.2 million ton, Ministry of National Food Security and Research has said.

Punjab is Pakistan's Potato Hub

Of the total yield, 95 to 97 percent is harvested in Punjab and rest is produced in other provinces.

In year 2017-18 Punjab produced 4264.4 (95.96%) thousand ton compared to 5.7 (0.12%) thousand ton in Sindh, 152.6(3.063%) in KPK and 22.6 (0.9%) in Balochistan.

Hence the availability remains continuous around the year from January to December. From December onwards up to January 20th new potato crop is available.

The price structure also fluctuates from December to March. In 2018 it started from 33.0 Rs/kg in January to 28.8 Rs/kg in December. Post 20th January crop is fit for export.

False rumors of export ban, export duties

There have been rumors that the government stopped/banned the potato export or levied duty on the export of potatoes.

The obvious reaction to this false news is unrest among the growers, traders and exporters. The farmers/growers are worst hit for they are worried how they will sow their next crop if this one is not cleared off.

Ministry of National Food Security & Research reiterated that the news is entirely false and fictitious and holds no ground.

Government stimulates export with facilitation centre in Okara

Furthermore, the Ministry of National Food Security is committed to uplift the plight of the farmers and bring revolution in agriculture. This is obvious from the fact that government entrusted a task to a task force for agriculture uplift within 100 days to bring revolutionary changes and come up with viable solutions.

The spread of false news regarding ban on potato export is condemnable, instead government of Pakistan is facilitating the traders and built a facilitation centre in Okara for the ease of exporters, here all three basic things including inspection, documentation and grant of SPS certificate will be done.

It is pertinent to mention that the import of potato is allowed for consumption purposes under SPS conditions and potato seed which is imported from one country is only allowed under stringent SPS rules to meet the seed requirements of the country.
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