Potato cultivation is a source of livelihood for many smallholders in Uzbekistan. The crop comes third after wheat and rice in the country.
The annual per capita consumption rate is estimated to be, on average, 45 kg and shows an upward trend.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan reckons that the country should increase potato production to meet local demand fully.
But worries over water availability bring into question the possibility of increased production. And this raises the priority of producing more with less input, including water. Researchers argue that if stress-tolerant varieties are cultivated and water-saving technologies used, smallholders can increase potato yields by 40 per cent.
Hence, farmers are looking for and testing new methods of irrigation and new varieties of potato to improve productivity. This endeavour is supported by a number of international research organizations working together with national partners and local authorities to help farmers deal with this issue.