Lahore – Growers of potato are in a deep financial crisis as they have been compelled to sell their crops below the cost of production for the last three years.
Average per annum potato production is 4.5 million tons against the local consumption of 2.4 to 2.5 million tons, agri experts said.
In a meeting with the LCCI office-bearers they said that government should facilitate the exports of potato as country can earn huge foreign exchange. They said that transportation cost for potato should be reduced and facilities should be given for packing and washing of potato. Expert of agriculture sector Ahmed Saeed Bhatti said that potato is the important crop in Pakistan after cereals with a potential of earning a significant amount for foreign exchange.
He said that after domestic consumption and procurement of seed for the next growing season for potato, country has surplus production well over 1.5 million tons. He said that surplus production can generate huge foreign exchange for the country as there is a huge demand in Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Central Asia and the Middle East for the Pakistani potato, whose quality and shelf-life is better than other countries.
The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry president, on this occasion, demanded of the government to facilitate the exports of potato as present state-of-affairs of potato-growers is miserable.
Almas Hyder said that government should facilitate the exports of potato as country can earn huge foreign exchange. He said that transportation cost for potato should be reduced and facilities should be given for packing and washing of potato.
He urged the Federal Minister for Commerce to have a consultative meeting with the stakeholders to resolve this serious issue as country is in a dire need of foreign exchange.