Pakistan ranks among top 10 potato producers globally with over 8 million tonnes.

Pakistan has achieved a significant milestone in agricultural production, emerging as one of the top 10 potato producers worldwide, with an output exceeding eight million tonnes. This remarkable achievement is attributed to improved agricultural practices and expanded cultivated areas across the country.

Over the past three years, Pakistan has witnessed a remarkable surge in potato production, experiencing a more than 35% increase from 5.87 million tonnes in 2020–21 to an anticipated 8.01 million tonnes in 2022–2023. As the current season approaches its conclusion, estimates suggest that Pakistan is on track to harvest yet another record-breaking crop of up to eight million tonnes of potatoes.

Among the world’s top potato-producing nations, Pakistan holds the ninth position, with a rapidly expanding potato cultivation sector. China leads the global production with 95.6 million tonnes, followed by India, Ukraine, Russia, and the USA.

Official data indicates that potatoes were cultivated across more than 0.330 million hectares in 2022–2023, yielding a total production of 7.94 million tonnes. This output reflects a 1.9% increase from the previous year, demonstrating the sector’s robust growth trajectory.

Potatoes have emerged as one of Pakistan’s key commercial crops, following wheat, rice, and maize. Over the past decade, the cultivation of potatoes has gained economic significance, with a notable increase in cultivated land area. In 2018–19 alone, Pakistan cultivated potatoes on 196,200 hectares, yielding a total production of 4.57 million tonnes.

Despite the progress, Pakistan’s average potato production rate of 23 tonnes per hectare remains low by global standards. However, innovative farming practices adopted by some farmers have led to a doubling of the national average production, indicating untapped potential for further yield enhancements.

The Punjab province accounts for over 95% of Pakistan’s potato cultivation, with significant contributions from farmers in intensively cultivated regions. The province has witnessed a substantial increase in potato production, driven by expanded cultivation areas.

Maqsood Ahmad Jutt, President of the Potato Growers Association, lauded the rise in potato output as a significant development for the agricultural sector. He highlighted the crop’s success in both domestic consumption and international trade, emphasizing its positive impact on producers and consumers alike.

Despite challenges, including fluctuations in export volumes and market values, Pakistan remains a prominent player in the global potato market. The nation exports an average of 516,000 tonnes of fresh or chilled potatoes annually, with key export destinations including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates.

As Pakistan continues to strengthen its position as a leading potato producer, concerted efforts to enhance productivity and streamline export processes will further solidify its standing in the global agricultural landscape.