The government has made a move to increase both production and export of potato at full length with an eye to ensuring fair prices of this spud for farmers.
As part of the initiative, agriculture ministry has recently prepared a roadmap with intent to increase potato production and increase its shipment abroad.
A high official of the ministry, who is involved with this process, told the FE recently that the roadmap has been prepared in consultation with stakeholders.
He said the roadmap suggested providing supply of high-yielding seed varieties to the farmers for increased production.
The high-yielding varieties of potatoes have a huge demand as an exportable vegetable item.
Bangladesh ranks seventh in terms of potato production. Potato is one of the key cash crops here.
The country produces an estimated 13-million tonnes of potato on 0.5-million hectares of land.
After internal consumption of 7.5-8.0 million tonnes annually, it has a surplus of 3.0-3.5 million tonnes.
On average, Bangladesh exports an estimated 60,000 tonnes of potato to different countries annually. It exported 56,000 tonnes in 2021.
However, it targets to export 120,000 tonnes of potato in 2023, 180,000 tonnes in 2024 and 250,000 tonnes in 2025, according to the Bangladesh Potato Exporters Association (BPEA) and the agriculture ministry.
Potato exporters have hailed this as a welcome move.
They called upon the government to implement the roadmap properly for increased potato exports.
"We welcome the government's roadmap to increase potato export," BPEA president Dr Shaikh Abdul Quader told the FE.
He called upon the government to implement its roadmap to increase potato export considering its potential.
He stressed the need for maintaining constant cooperation between ministries, departments and the private sector, especially with potato exporters.
Bangladesh Potato Exporters Association, Bangladesh Cold Storage Association, Department of Agriculture Extension, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute and Department of Agriculture Marketing have contributed to making the roadmap.
According to the official, Sunshine, Prada, Santana, Queen Anne, Cumbica, Donata, Diamant, Granula, BARI Alu-62, BARI Alu-90 and Musica are among the exportable potato varieties.
Bangladesh mainly exports (80 per cent out of its total export) potato to Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
The official further said that there are 22 points to implement the roadmap.