Recent reports say that the plights of thousands of potato growers in Bangladesh is increasing day by day, as they are stuck with surplus stocks and low exports.
The New Nation newspaper says in a news report titled “Save the potato growers” that the country produced a record high of 1.09 crore tonnes (nearly 11 million tons) of potatoes last year. With an annual average demand of around 70 lakh tonnes, the country witnessed a surplus of about 40 lakh tonnes, most of which is wasted.
For a lack of better use of the surplus, farmers are left with no option but to feed these potatoes to cattle. Not all of the surplus can be stored in the cold storages for low capacity, the newspaper says.
A seven-member committee comprising officials from the Agriculture Ministry, Commerce Ministry, DAE, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation has recently been formed to promote potato exports and explore new markets abroad.
Bangladesh is the world’s seventh largest producer of potato. And potato is the staple food of about 50 nations, including most of the European countries. But it failed to utilize the opportunity to export surplus potato to those countries.
Russia and the European Union were potential markets for Bangladeshi potatoes, but those opportunities ended in 2015-16 when Russia found diseases in potatoes exported from Bangladesh and issued a temporary ban.