Potato acreage ends lower in Shan State due to high input cost


The higher cost of agricultural inputs reduced the potato sowing acres in the southern Shan State this year.
Potato is primarily cultivated in Naungtaya, Heho, Pindaya and Nyaungshwe townships in the southern Shan State. Normally, the number of acreages was around over 40,000 acres. This year, it is down by one-third.
The cultivation cost was estimated at K2.5 million per acre in 2019, whereas it tremendously surged to K5 million per acre in 2021.
As a result of this, the growers reduced the sowing acreage from 20 to 10 acres. Some of them turned their eyes to other profitable crops.
The price of potatoes ranges between K450 to K1,200 per viss during the 2016-2019 harvest season. This year, the prices spiked to K1,300-K2,000 per viss.
Earlier, Chinese potatoes were mostly imported through border posts at cheaper rates. The dumping policy injured the pricing in the domestic market.
Nonetheless, border trade restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and the dropping sowing acres pushed the potato prices up in the local market.
Additionally, potatoes imported by China and Bangladesh are priced not lower than K1,000-K1,100 per viss. The locally produced potato can compete in the market against those imported ones. Potatoes are expected to fetch a reasonable rate in the coming harvest season on account of the good quality, said potato growers in Naungtaya Town.
Potatoes are cultivated in the southern Shan State in the winter and rainy seasons. Monsoon potato cultivation starts in March and April and they are harvested in August and September.
The winter potato is grown in August-September and yielded in October and November.
The potato varieties were not imported in 2020. The old potato varieties were kept in the cold storages of Heho Potato Association (1,000 tonnes storage capacity) and Naungtaya Potato Association (2,000 tonnes storage capacity) and they were distributed to the growers.
This year, the growers’ groups and associations purchased potato varieties from the Netherlands, China and India and distributed them. Some made purchase orders of new varieties from the Netherlands as well.
The growers directly purchase potatoes from the growers’ groups and commodity depots in Aungban and Yangon markets. There are two types of potatoes delivered to the snack food industry and the local market. — NN/GNLM

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