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Low-sugar Potato Cultivation Spreads in India

Indian farmers are increasingly turning to cultivation of low-sugar potato, as there is an increasing demand across the world for wafers and chips, reports say//.

The trend is particularly evident in Gujarat in western India, where more than half of the land under potato has switched to the new variety.

The low-sugar potato is giving much better yields than the traditional one and also processing firms snap up the produce without any delay, farmers say.

Low sugar potatoes are preferred by the potato-processing farms as they have a higher dry matter – that means more slices of wafers and fries.

Canada’s Mccain Foods, a potato processing multinational, has now set up a unit in Gujarat with a capacity to process 10,000 tonnes a year.

Its officials are hoping to triple the capacity by next year itself, such is the demand for potato chips and wafers internationally.

India is the biggest potato producer after China and Russia and has 1.28 million hectares under potato. The country’s annual output runs to 22.49 million tones.

The cultivation of low sugar potato is now spreading to Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. India exports raw and processed potatoes to such countries like Syria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Mauritius.

Even when low in sugar, potato only goes into the making of fast-foods blamed for the obesity epidemic. It is perhaps a measure of the effect of the international campaign that the demand for wafers and chips should soar, even forcing changes in cropping pattern, note observers.

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