Over the years, potato has become an important crop for both farmers and consumers in Pakistan.  It is the fourth most important crop by volume of production, it is high yielding, having a high nutritive value and gives high returns to farmers.

From around 3,000 Ha. At the time of independence, the area under production increased to around 107000 ha.  During the same period the average yields rose from around 9 in 1947 to 20 MT per ha.  Pakistan is self-sufficient in potatoes for household consumption and relies for more than 99% on locally produced seed potatoes. Presently, it is estimated that the total annual domestic production amounts to around 1.8 Million MT, of which 280000 MT is used as seed and 1.8 Million MT is available for consumption after post harvest losses.  With a population of roughly 132 Million, this accounts to 9.3 Kg per Capita per annum.

The recent large increase in acreage was reached by an intensification of the cultivation in existing potato growing areas, as well as by introduction of the crop in new areas and to inexperienced farmers.  Hence, many problems, like diseases and pests, became more hazardous and a large number of farmers are lacking knowledge of the right cultivation technique.  These include pests and disease control, land preparation and irrigation, fertilizer application, crop rotation and multi-cropping techniques.  The lack of credit facilities to purchase inputs creates difficulties, in particular for small farmers, inhibiting their effort to raise productivity.

High quality costly seed forms another constraint.  The seed contributes to about 35-40% of the total cost of production in Pakistan.  Formal certified seed production is limited and faces technical, economical and managerial problems.  Lack of availability of sufficient quantities of good seed and low purchasing power of the farmers, forces them to rely on seed sources of doubtful quality or own production, for which most of them do not have the proper skills.

Poor post harvest handling, including transport and storage practices, causes unnecessary damage and losses and reduction of consumption quality.  Sufficient cold store space is available in Pakistan.  The handling of potatoes in storage is unsatisfactory and poorly managed.  Finally, the farmers and consumers are faced with serve cyclical fluctuations in price, as production moves from glut to shortage, so preventing the farmers from enjoying a reliable income and inhibiting the consumer from including potato as a regular staple part in his diet.

Area and production of potatoes in Pakistan:



YEAR           AREA.     (000 HA)         PRODUCTION.(000) TONNES    YIELD.        TONNES/  HA.      

1947-48                                 3.0                                        30.0                                                        10.0

1984-85                               54.5                                       543.3                                                        10.0

1985-86                               62.9                                       618.3                                                         9.8

1986-87                                60.5                                      594.3                                                         9.8

1987-88                               58.1                                       563.2                                                         9.7

1988-89                               63.9                                      644.8                                                        10.1

1989-90                               80.0                                     830.9                                                        10.4

1990-91                               72.0                                     751.3                                                        10.4

1991-92                               75.6                                     859.8                                                        11.4

1992-93                               76.0                                     932.8                                                        12.3

1993-94                               79.3                                   1056.2                                                        13.3

1994-95                               79.3                                   1105.0                                                        13.9

1995-96                               78.9                                   1063.5                                                        13.5

1996-97                               85.8                                    963.5                                                         11.2

1997-98                              104.7                                 1425.5                                                          13.6

1998-99                              109.5                                 1810.4                                                          16.5

1999-2000                          112.8                                 1871.0                                                          17.3




  1. From 1984-85 to 1997-98.Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan,

1997-98, MINFAL, Islamabad.


  1. Final estimate for 1998-99 Punjab, Sindh and NWFP provided by respective

Provincial Agriculture Department and for Balochistan, minutes of 72 meeting of



Provincial Shares in Area and production.

Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan respectively account for 83, 1, 10 and 6 percent of the total area and 83,1,9 and 7 percent of the production of potatoes in the country.

The shares of Autumn, Spring and Summer crops in the annual production are estimated at 75,10 and 15 percent, respectively.

Important Potato Production Districts.

Districts of Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Jhang, Lahore, Narowal, Pakpattan, Gujranwala, T.T. Singh and Khanewal from the Punjab, Nowshera, Dir and Mansehra from the NWFP and Pishin, Killa Saifulla and Kalat from Balochistan are important potato growing districts, accounting among themselves for 78 percent of the total production of the crop.

Changes in Area, Yield and Production.

(a)  Long Term Changes:- 1988-89 to 1998-99.

Potato production during the ten year period between 1988-89 to 1998-99 is estimated to have increased @ 8.19 percent per annum on account of 4.09 percent annual expansion in its area and 3.9 percent improvement.

The lion’s share in potato production i.e. 85 percent comes from Punjab, where Autumn and Spring crops are raised.  Total production in the Punjab is estimated to have increased @ 9.82 percent per annum due to increases of 4.88 and 4.74 percent in area and yield, respectively.

In Sindh, area and yield of potatoes have increased by 2.38 and 1.50 percent resulting in production increase of 4 percent per year.

Climatic conditions in the NWFP are conducive to grow all three crops of potatoes.  Total production from these crops has increased @ 4 percent on account of  1.91 expansion in area and 2 percent rise in yield.

In Balochistan, only Summer crop is cultivated.  The production in this province has diminished @ 1.70 percent every year because the area under the crop has contracted @ 1.88 percent.




CROP                     PLANTING                           HARVESTING                      PRODUCTION SHARE



Spring                    Jan-Feb                                  April-May                             07.10 %

Summer                  March-May                           August-Oct                           15-20 %

Autumn                 Sept-Oct                               Jan-Feb                                  70-75 %




RED SKIN                                                             WHITE SKIN

Desiree                                                                   Diamant

Cardinal                                                                 Ajax

Ultimus                                                                  Patrones

Lal-a-Faisal                                                            Multa

Raja Symphonia                                                   Sante



PUBLIC                                                                 PRIVATE

– Tissue Culture, NARC.                                         – Jaffar Brothers Ltd.

– Plant Virology, Faisalabad.                                   – A.G.B.C.

– Potato Research Centre, Abbottabad.                    – Jabbar Combined International.

– Potato Seed Unit, Deptt. Of Agri. Gilgit.                 –  Gilgit Area Marketing Association.

– VSSPP, Quetta.                                                  – Nangaparbat Potato Growers Association.

– Punjab Seed Corporation.



Þ      Expensive.

Þ      Rapid degeneration of quality seed due to its multiplication in spring season which is full of virus vector Myzus persicae.

Þ      Total quantity of imported seed and about 30-40% (1500 tonmnes) of locally produced certified seed has to pass through spring season for further  multiplication.

Spread of fungal diseases.

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) was found major yield  limiting factor in high hills and is also a serious problem in plains, it may reduce the yield up to 70%.

Diseases with Mycoplasma Pathogens:

Recently mycoplasma was found a serious problem in major potato growing areas of Punjab.  45% reduction in yeidl was recorded in research trials.

Soil borne diseases.

Monocropping in  hilly areas and lack of crop rotation in other potato growing areas of Pakistan ane major causes for spread of soil borne diseases.

Þ      Cyst nematode.

Þ      Rhizoctonia, Verticillium, Scab and Softrot.

Lack of high yielding and disease resistance clones.

No proper gene pool is available in the country.

Lack of coordination in seed producing agencies.

There is very little coordination among public and private seed producers.

Different agro-ecological zones for potato production.

  1.  Irrigated plains of Sindh, Southern Punjab and Balochistan.
  2. Irrigated plains of Central Punjab and South East NWFP.

III.   Irrigated and rainfed plains of NWFP and Northern Punjab.

  1. Irrigated lower valleys of NWFP.
  2.  Rainfed high valleys and hill sides of NWFP, Northern Punjab and Azad Kashmir.
  3. Irrigated high valleys of NWFP, Northern Areas around Chillas and Azad Kashmir.

VII. Irrigated high valleys of Northern Areas and NWFP around Mastuj.

VIII.Irrigated high valleys of Balochistan, South and North Waziristan.



Source: Pakistan Agriculture Research Council