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Potato Production


Potato is grown in more than 100 countries, under temperate, subtropical and tropical conditions. It is essentially a “cool weather crop”, with temperature being the main limiting factor on production: tuber growth is sharply inhibited in temperatures below 10°C (50°F) and above 30°C (86°F), while optimum yields are obtained where mean daily temperatures are in the 18 to 20°C (64 to 68°F) range.

For that reason, potato is planted in early spring in temperate zones and late winter in warmer regions, and grown during the coolest months of the year in hot tropical climates. In some sub-tropical highlands, mild temperatures and high solar radiation allow farmers to grow potatoes throughout the year, and harvest tubers within 90 days of planting (in temperate climates, such in northern Europe, it can take up to 150 days).

The potato is a very accommodating and adaptable plant, and will produce well without ideal soil and growing conditions. However, it is also subject to number of pests and diseases. To prevent the build-up of pathogens in the soil, farmers avoid growing potato on the same land from year to year. Instead, they grow potato in rotations of three or more years, alternating with other, dissimilar crops, such as maize, beans and alfalfa. Crops susceptible to the same pathogens as potato (e.g. tomato) are avoided in order to break potato pests’ development cycle.

With good agricultural practices, including irrigation when necessary, a hectare of potato in the temperate climates of northern Europe and North America can yield more than 40 tonnes of fresh tubers within four months of planting. In most developing countries, however, average yields are much lower – ranging from as little as five tonnes to 25 tonnes – owing to lack of high quality seed and improved cultivars, lower rates of fertilizer use and irrigation, and pest and disease problems.

Soil and Land Preparation

The potato can be grown almost on any type of soil, except saline and alkaline soils. Naturally loose soils, which offer the least resistance to enlargement of the tubers, are preferred, and loamy and sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter, with good drainage and aeration, are the most suitable. Soil with a pH range of 5.2-6.4 is considered ideal.

Growing potatoes involves extensive ground preparation. The soil needs to be harrowed until completely free of weed roots. In most cases, three ploughings, along with frequent harrowing and rolling, are needed before the soil reaches a suitable condition: soft, well-drained and well-aerated. 1

Climate and soils

Potato basically requires relatively mild temperature during early growth and cool weather during tuber development.

It does well under well-distributed rains or moist weather situations to high temperature, humidity rains are not conducive to potatoes as these lead to insect-pest, disease, viruses epidemics.

Impeded drainage or lack of aeration also is considered harmful as it restricts the tuber development.

Therefore, climatic conditions are very crucial for determining the potato yield.

Its general and specific climatic requirements are delineated as under.

General Climatic Requirements

Potato is a temperate or cool season crop which needs a low temperature, lower humidity, less windy and bright sunny days. It thrives best in cool regions where there is sufficient moisture and fertile soil.

Potato needs about 25°C at the time of germination, about 20°C for vegetative growth but between 17-20°C for tuberization and tuber development. It is noticed that higher temperature has an adverse effect on the tuber growth, whereas temperature above 30°C stops tuber formation completely.

It is probably because at higher temperature the rate of respiration increases and the carbohydrate formed by the process of photosynthesis is consumed rather than stored in the tubers. Under higher temperature the plants are elongated leaves become wrinkled and plants have silky appearance. Tubers do not develop under such situations.

Cloud days, rains and high humidity are very congenial for spread of fungal, viral and bacterial diseases, and such conditions are not good for the crop.


Specific Climatic Requirements of Potato

Potato is a crop of temperate climates and its importance is great both for human consumption and for industrial uses. There are different varieties of potatoes which are classified on the basis of the length of the vegetative period. There are early varieties with 90 days vegetative period; others are medium verities with 90-120 days of vegetative period and still others are late varieties with over 120 days of vegetative periods.



Potatoes are planted when the soil temperature at a depth of 4 inches is 8 ° to 10 °C. When they are planted at a higher temperature, the tubers are damaged, but when they are planted at a lower temperature, the sprouting is retarded. It has been estimated that a mean daily air temperature of 10 ° C, the length of the period from sowing to sprouting is 27 days. But when the mean daily air temperature is 22 ° C, sprout appears after 12 days.

Experiments have shown that a most favourable temperature for the potato tubes is 18 ° to 20 ° C. At 22 ° to 25 ° C the formation of the tuber is retarded and beyond 29 ° C it completely stops. Mild frost to the extent of -1° C partially damages the potato leaves, but when the temperature falls below -2° C, the exposed parts of the most of the varieties are destroyed.



The water requirements of the potato crop during its vegetative period are not very high. It has been estimated that rainfall of 15 to 20 cms or an equivalent amount of irrigation is sufficient for the normal crop. At the time of germination, the crop requires little external moisture, because the potato tubers themselves contain adequate amount of water. However, as the leaves grow after sprouting, the water requirements of the crop increase.

The optimum soil moisture for the potato crop is 65 to 80 percent at the field capacity. Just after sowing and before sprouting, heavy rains adversely affect the crop. Alternate dry and rainy weather leads to an excessive growth of potato plant and encourages the formation of the off-shoots in the young tubers. Potato requires a high light intensity if the crop remains in shade or if it is too densely planted, the yield is adversely affected. 2


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Seed Rate:

Potatoes are propagated by tubers, planted either whole or cut into pieces. To obtain maximum yields, healthy, disease-free tubers, free from mixture of other varieties, should he use. Seed rate depends on tuber size; 800-1000 kg/ha is generally recommended. Choudhary et al (1990) conducted a trial comparing improved seed of the Swat and Kaghan varieties brought from the Kaiam Integrated Development Project with seed from the local market. Potatoes grown from the improved seed gave better soil coverage, had a lower incidence of virus attack and higher tuber weight and gave higher yields than those from the locally purchased unimproved seed.


Potatoes need frequent irrigation. The first irrigation should be given immediately after sowing, and thereafter at one week intervals. After tuber formation, the frequency of irrigation is decreased. Care must be taken while irrigating that the water does not reach fee top of the ridge.
Irrigation should be stopped a few days before harvesting.

Manures and Fertilizers:

Potato has a high nutrient requirement; a yield of 25 tons of tubers/ha depletes the soil of 119 kg of N, 50 kg of P and 225 kg of K. In light soils and places where organic manures are not easily available, green manuring is beneficial. Well-rotted FYM at 30 t/ha should be incorporated into the soil three to four weeks before planting. Research on fertilizer requirements conducted in the Punjab and Sindh suggests that 100 kg N, 80-100 kg of P2O5, and 50 kg K2O per hectare are sufficient- to obtain good yields.



For most commercial varieties, yellowing of the potato plant’s leaves and easy separation of tubers from stolons indicate that the potato crop has reached maturity. If the potatoes are to be stored rather than consumed immediately, they are left in the soil to allow their skin to harden – hard skin also help seed potatoes to resist storage diseases. However, leaving tubers for too long in the ground increases their exposure to the fungal disease black scurf and increases the risk of losing quality and marketable yield. To facilitate harvesting and stop tuber growth, potato vines should be removed two weeks before the potatoes are dug up. Depending on the scale of the production, potatoes are harvested using a spading fork, a plough or commercial potato harvesters that unearth the plant and shake or blow the soil from the tubers. During harvesting, especially if it is done mechanically, it is important to avoid bruising or other injuries, which provide entry points for storage diseases and reduce the commercial, processing quality and storability of the tubers. In suitable environments and where growing conditions are adequate, commercial yields are in the range of 40–60 tonnes per hectare. In many developing countries, however, they are far below this figure, with national averages of about 10- 20 tonnes per hectare.



Stages in crop development

  1. Planted seed tuber
    2. Vegetative growth
    3. Tuber initiation
    4. Tuber bulking


Diseases Of Potato

Potato tuber moth: Phthorimaea operculella

Marks of identification:

Potato Moths are small narrow winged greyish brown in colour, measure about 12 mm long. Full grown caterpillars are pinkish white or pale greenish in colour and 14-20 mm long.

Nature of damage by Potato Tuber Moth

  • It bores into petioles and terminal shoots
  • The main danger is to tubers both in the field and under storage.
  • The caterpillars bore the tubers and feed on the pupal as a result of damage the potato tubers rot.
  • The presence of black excreta near the eye buds helps to detect its presence in the tubers


LarvaeLeaf damage

Tuber damage

Management of Potato Tuber Moth

In field: –

Timely earthling up of the crop to cover the exposed tubers helps in reducing the intensity of infestation.

Two sprays with 0.05% quinalphos or 0.1% carbaryl at 15 days interval starting 60 days after planting controls the pest effectively.

Heaps of harvested potatoes should not be kept exposed in the field but covered with straw and infested tubers should be rejected before storage.

Release Copidosoma koehleri 50 000 adults/ha/release, Chelonius blackbernii 15000 adults/ha/release an egg-larval parasite to reduce 50-55% infestation.

However, if harvest should be delayed and leaves have senesced, apply on the soil surface any one of the following:  Lambda cyhalothrin 600 ml/ha or Indoxacarb 30 WG 130 g/ha or Runner (methoxyfenozide) 240 SC 600 ml /ha

In storage

  • The potatoes should be stored in well-ventilated cool and dry places with temperature not exceeding 210 Fumigate the tubers with CS2at the rate of 1kg/27 cu.m for 48 hours at 700F or ethyl bromide at the rate of 1 kg/27 cu.m for the least three hours before storage.
  • Covering of tubers with 1″ layer of dry sand is stated to be a cheap and highly effective remedy against the pest
  • Walls of godown should be sprayed with 1% Malathion at an interval of 3 months.
  • Treatment of seed potato tubers with 5% Malathion at the rate of 125 gm/100kg is also reported to offer good protection against the pest. Such treated potatoes, however, should not be used for consumption.
  • If cold storage facilities are available, the produce can be safely stored for a longer period.


Potato Cut Worm: Agrotis ypsilon

Marks of Identification:

Potato cutworm Moth is medium sized (22-26 mm longer), stout with greyish brown wavy lines and sports on fore wings and creamy white wings. The moths are active at dusk and are attracted by light. Full grown caterpillars are 40-48 mm long dirty black in colour and have habit of coiling at slightest touch.

Nature of damage

It damage plants and tubers, especially after dark

They attack young plants by severing their stems, pulling all parts of the plant into the ground and devouring them particularly at 25 – 35 days after planting (DAP)

Signs of damage on tubers are boreholes, larger than those made by potato tuber moths

Damage during seedling stageLarvae with symptoms of damage


Management of Potato cutworm

  • Heaps of green grasses may be kept at suitable interval in infested field during evening and next day early in the morning along with caterpillars to destroy
  • Clean cultivation and mechanical destruction of caterpillars also help in reducing pest infestation
  • Irrigation also brings them on the surface and birds shall predate them
  • 5% Carbaryl poisonbait at the rate of 25-60 kg/ha controls the pest effectively
  • Soil application of chlordane or Heptachlor dust at the rate of 50 kg/ha found effective against the pest.
  • Apply any one of the followings insecticides Coragen 20 SC 300 ml /haor Tracer 48 SC 200 ml/ha or Indoxacarb 30 WG 130 g/ha


Epilachna Beetle of Potato: Epilachna viginatioctopunctata

Marks of Identification:

The epilachna beetles of potato are special in shape, pale brown in colour and motted with black spots. The grubs are yellow with hairs on their body.


Nature of Damage by Epilachna Beetles

Both grub and beetle eat the chlorophyll of the leaf in between the veins and cause characteristic skeletonised patches on leaves.


Management of epilachna beetles

  • Hand packing of grubs and collection of beetles by hand nets during early stages of attack, helps in reducing the intensity of infestation
  • Conservation and augmentation of natural parasitoids viz. Pediobius foveolatus, Pleunotrogrus faveolatus and Tetrastichus sp
  • Application of Neem, Mahua, ground nut cakes are efficient in suppressing the pest population
  • Spray of Malathion 50 EC in 200 liters of water per acre provides up to 82 percent kill of this pest.


Aphids in potato: Myzus persicae

Marks of Identification:

Aphids are tiny yellowish soft-bodied insects, the adult is along 1mm long and has two projections called cornicles on the dorsal side of abdomen

Nature of damage by Aphids

Direct damage:

  • It puncturing them and sucking their juices.
  • They damage the young and soft parts of plants, such as new leaves and shoots.
  • Signs of damage are leaves not opening properly and being smaller in size.
  • Severe infestation can cause shoots to wilt and dry out.

Indirect damage:

Aphids have wings and can move from plant to plant spreading viral diseases (potato virus Y and potato leaf roll virus), picked up from infected plants

Aphids secrete a sugary liquid that stimulates black sooty mold growth. It can cover the surface of leaves which affects the way they absorb sunlight.

Management of Aphids in Potato

  • Apply any one of the following insecticides Actara (thiamethoxam) 25 WG 600 g/hain the furrows at planting or spray Confidor (imidacloprid) 70 WG 125 g/ha or Actara 25 WG 80 g/ha after 6 weeks
  • In case of seed crop, apply 5 kg of Thimet 10G (phorate)to the soil at the time of the first earthing up
  • Encourage the activity of Dieretella spp, Ahelinus and Ahidius parasitoids and ladybird beetles and syrphid predators


Jassids of Potato: Empoasca fabae:

Marks of Identification:

The adults are greenish yellow with front wings having a black spot on each, at the apical margin and two black spots on the vertex of the head. The nymphs are also green. They walk diagonally.

Nature of damage by Jassids in potato crop

Both nymphs and adult suck the sap from the lower surface of the leaves

The damaged leaves curl upwards along the margins and turn yellowish and show burnt patches. This affect adversely plants growth and yield

  Hopper burn symptomsHopper burn symptomss

Hopper burn symptoms – burnt patches


 Management of Jassids in potato

  • Seed treatment withimidacloprid (Gaucho) or Cruiser @ 5 grams per kg In the field, spray with imidacloprid @ 1 ml in 3-4 liters of water or fipronil @ 2 ml per liter.
  • Spray the crop with 300 ml of Rogor 30EC (dimethoate)or metasystox 25EC (methyl-demeton) or 75 ml of dimecran 85SL ( phosphomidon) in 80-100 liters of water per acre. If necessary, repeat the spray after 10 days.


Thrips of potato: Helicothrips indicus:

Marks of Identification:

The adults are minute, delicate insects, less than 1 mm long and are light yellow in colour. Wings have fringe or hairs throughout and hence they are called fringed, winged insects. The nymphs are still smaller, minute and wingless.

Nature of damage by thrips in potato

Direct damage

  • It damages the undersides of leaves by scrape the epidermis and such the oozing sap
  • They damage young and soft parts of plants such as new leaves and shoots
  • As a result, leaves curl downwards and change to a blackish- silver colour
  • Severe infestation causes young leaves to wilt and dry out

Indirect damage

It can carry and spread spotted wilt virus diseases

Spotted wilt virusThrips underside of leaves

Spotted wilt virus                                                             Thrips underside of leaves


Management of Thrips of potato

Spraying with Tracer (spinosad) 48 SC 300 ml/ha or 0.02% phosphamidon, 0.03% dimethoate, methyl demeton or thiometon control the pest effectively.

In the field, spray with imidacloprid @ 1 ml in 3-4 liters of water or fipronil @ 2 ml per liter.

Sufficient watering – Thrips thrive in dry conditions and watering will increase moisture and inhibit their development.

Using black silver mulch – Light reflected from the silvery surface illuminating the undersides of leaves can repel thrips.


White grub of potato:

Marks of Identification:

White grubs are the larval form of beetles. They are large reaching 2-3 cm in length, are shaped like the letter C, and have three pairs of legs on their thorax. Their heads are hard and ruddy-brown in color, and they have strong mandibles.

Nature of damage by White grub of potato

Tubers damaged by irregular holes. More than two holes are often found in one tuber.

These holes are not so deep, as white grubs do not enter and live inside tubers.

Severe infestations usually occur in fields previously covered with grasses.

White grub

Management of white grub of potato

  • Collecting larvae when tilling soil, planting, weeding and hilling up.
  • Avoiding using un composted organic fertilizer, as it is a suitable breeding ground for this pest.
  • Avoiding to plant potatoes in fields that were previously covered with grasses.
  • Flooding field prior to planting, where possible farmers can consider temporarily flooding fields, particularly on severely infested fields.
  • Making use of bird predators to reduce white grub populations.

Yield potential
In subtropical areas, you can plant in April/May. Usually the yield isn’t wonderful but can fill a need – especially in remote areas. Temperatures above 30°C can reduce yield. Cool seasons on the Highveld certainly make a big difference in yield potential. The effect of high temperatures can be partially negated by frequent, light irrigation. Since high temperatures on the Highveld are related to dry periods, if the irrigation method enables you to irrigate frequently it will make a big difference.

Yield potential is affected by many other variables, such as soil and air temperature, soil fertility, day-length and sun intensity. You can experiment with planting dates and varieties to maximise your yield, but this will also have to fit into the most profitable harvest date. It doesn’t help if you get a higher yield only to get a lower price if the higher yield doesn’t make up for the lower price. All these factors need to be taken into consideration so as to get the variety and planting date to work best for you.


Harvest and Post-harvest Handling

The potato tuber is a shortened, enlarged, underground stem. Eighty percent of the potato tuber is water, with the remainder being carbohydrate, protein, ash, and fat. Potatoes are living organisms that respire, using oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide, moisture, and heat.



Three key conditions should be met in order to minimize harvest injury:

  • apply chemical vine killer two weeks before harvest.
  • harvest when soil conditions are dry
  • avoid harvesting in the late fall, when soil and air temperatures are below 45 degrees F.

Killing vines before harvest allows them to dry thoroughly and allows time for pathogens to die, reducing the chances of transporting them into storage. It also allows for tuber skin maturation, reducing skinning and bruising. Harvesting when soils are dry decreases bruising due to soil clods and transport of soil into storage where it can block air circulation through the potato pile. Harvesting at temperatures below 45 degrees F will injure potatoes more than at higher temperatures. Avoid harvesting when temperatures are above 60 degrees F to minimize water loss and shrinkage.

One of the biggest problems to be controlled during harvest and handling is bruising. When bruising occurs in the early stages of postharvest handling, the potatoes get nicked and become breeding grounds for microorganisms, allowing them to spread rapidly and cause serious losses. To prevent bruising, inspect and adjust harvesting equipment frequently. Reduce drop heights, bouncing, and rolling by padding impact areas and adjust contact surfaces.

Tubers are usually conveyed from the harvesters into dump trucks or bins. When transporting tubers from the field to the packing shed, cover the load with a tarp to reduce exposure to high temperatures and sunlight. Exposure to light can cause greening.

If harvesting by hand, be careful not to nick potatoes with your digger. Carefully transfer tubers into bins, shade bins, then transport to your packing shed.

After harvest, potatoes are dormant for 6 to 12 weeks, depending on variety and storage temperatures. After the dormancy period, potatoes may begin to sprout after 2 to 3 months in storage. High storage temperatures will induce earlier sprouting. To avoid sprouting, you can apply a sprout inhibitor, such as chloroisopropyl-N phenylcarbamate (CIPC) or maleic hydrazide. They should not be used on seed potatoes. CIPC is applied as a gas after curing is completed. Maleic hydrazide is applied in the field during late full bloom to postbloom, and needs to be transported from the leaves to the tubers to be effective.


Before storage, potatoes should be culled and cured. Cull and discard any damaged, diseased or frozen tubers. Curing potatoes heals the skin, making it less susceptible to damage and disease. Cure potatoes by exposing them to temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees F and 95% relative humidity for 10 to 14 days.

Potatoes are either stored in refrigerated warehouses or no refrigerated bulk bins up to 20 feet deep. In the bulk bins, air should be forced from the floor through corrugated metal ducts up through the pile. This ensures good distribution of cool, humid air, which decreases shrinkage, sprouting, and decay. For table stock, ventilate at 0.6 to 0.7 cubic meters per minute per ton. For chipping stock, use 0.8 to 1 cubic meter per minute per ton. If airflow is too high, the relative humidity surrounding the potatoes may drop, causing weight loss. Air-cooled storage rooms may also be used, but you must ensure that night temperatures are low enough to keep your storage room cool and high enough to prevent freezing.

Hold table potatoes at 38 to 40 degrees F, decreasing field temperature 5 degrees per week to the desired storage temperature. Store processing potatoes at 50 to 55 degrees F, although Russet Burbank for processing can be stored at 45 degrees F. Cool processing potatoes to the final storage temperature at a rate of 3 to 4 degrees per week. Processing potatoes stored below 40 degrees F will build up sugars that will cause the flesh to turn brown or black when fried. Once the desired holding temperature is reached, keep the temperature differential about 2 degrees F between the top and bottom of the pile. Do not allow potatoes to remain at temperatures below 30 degrees F, or freezing injury will occur, leading to rot. For all types of potatoes, storage humidity should be 95%, but avoid moisture condensation on tubers and storage walls and ceilings. When diseases such as late blight and Pythium leak are severe, maintain lower humidity during storage and ensure good air circulation.



When ready for market, potatoes can be packed into perforated plastic bags that will help retain moisture but provide for air circulation and proper cooling during transport. Potatoes can also be packed into cardboard boxes with ventilation holes.

Mechanical and Physiological Disorders

Besides sprouting, potato disorders include:

Greeningsurface turns green with light treatmentminimize exposure to light
Black heartsharply defined, purplish-grey to black area in center or cavities due to oxygen starvationprovide good air circulation to prevent heating and oxygen deprivation; avoid chilling injury
Chilling injurygray to red-brown areas or black heartstore tubers above 37 degrees F
Freezing injuryvascular tissue turns black and tubers leak when thawedstore tubers above 37 degrees F
Blackspotinternal black spots due to bruising; can cause shatter in some potatoesminimize bruising; warm to 60 degrees F before grading



Postharvest diseases include the following

DiseaseCasual agentSymptoms
Dry rotFusarium spp.brown, firm, sunken flesh; sunken and wrinkled surfaces with blue or white protuberances
Soft rotErwinia carotovorasoft, water cavities in flesh, foul smell; in non-russeted varieties, shallow, round lesions around lenticels
LeakPythiumoozing tubers; well defined areas between healthy and diseased flesh; pink then black flesh with granular, mushy rot
Late blightPhytophthora infestanssmall, shrunken, dark spots in flesh; foul smell
Ring rotCornybacterium sepedonicumvascular ring yellow



Potatoes Exports by Country

French fries in global demand


Global sales from potatoes exports by country amounted to US$3.7 billion during 2016 for products in their raw form, while the value of shipments for prepared or preserved potatoes including frozen french fries represents an additional $8.5 billion.

Overall, the value of raw potatoes exports increased in value by an average 7.6% for all exporting countries since 2012 when raw potatoes shipments were valued at $3.5 billion. Total prepared or preserved potatoes shipments depreciated by 9.9% over the same 5-year period.

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for raw potatoes while 0701 while the 6-digit prefix for frozen prepared or preserved potatoes including french fries is 200410. In addition, 200520 is the 6-digit prefix for unfrozen potatoes prepared or preserved with vinegar or acetic acid.


Potatoes Exports by Country: Raw

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of unprocessed raw potatoes during 2016:

Netherlands: US$669.9 million (18% of total raw potatoes exports)

France: $603.4 million (16.2%)

Germany: $349.2 million (9.4%)

Canada: $228.1 million (6.1%)

China: $227.2 million (6.1%)

Belgium: $210.2 million (5.7%)

United States: $203.6 million (5.5%)

Egypt: $162 million (4.4%)

United Kingdom: $150.9 million (4.1%)

Spain: $136.2 million (3.7%)

Israel: $90.4 million (2.4%)

Italy: $71.9 million (1.9%)

India: $60.3 million (1.6%)

Denmark: $58.3 million (1.6%)

Cyprus: $52.7 million (1.4%)


The above countries produced 88% of raw potatoes exports in 2016.

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing raw potatoes exporters since 2012 were: India (up 218.3%), China (up 71.8%), Canada (up 41.2%) and Spain (up 33.3%).

Four countries posted declines in their exported raw potatoes sales: Denmark (down -17.9%), United Kingdom (down -16%), Netherlands (down -5.3%) and the United States (down -0.6%).


Potatoes Exports by Country: Prepared or Preserved

Frozen prepared or preserved potatoes including french fries amounted to $6.4 billion in export sales for 2016, while international shipments of unfrozen prepared or preserved potatoes were worth $2.1 billion.

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of prepared or preserved potatoes during 2016:

Netherlands: US$2 billion (22.9% of total prepared or preserved potatoes exports)

Belgium: $1.8 billion (21.6%)

United States: $1.4 billion (16.3%)

Canada: $993.7 million (11.6%)

Germany: $422.4 million (5%)

France: $373.1 million (4.4%)

United Kingdom: $230.3 million (2.7%)

Poland: $219.1 million (2.6%)

Argentina: $189.5 million (2.2%)

Mexico: $82.7 million (1%)

Spain: $67.4 million (0.8%)

New Zealand: $62.6 million (0.7%)

Egypt: $59.1 million (0.7%)

Austria: $50.6 million (0.6%)

Malaysia: $45.6 million (0.5%)

The 15 countries listed immediately above shipped 93.6% of all prepared or preserved spuds in 2016.

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing prepared or preserved potatoes exporters since 2012 were: Spain (up 82.3%), Belgium (up 17.9%), Netherlands (up 17.2%) and Argentina (up 17.1%).

The five countries that posted declines in their exported prepared or preserved potatoes sales were: Malaysia (down -20.5%), Mexico (down -11.6%), New Zealand (down -11%), Germany (down -2.7%) and France (-2.1%).

One final note to crown the potato king of international trade: Dutch exporters placed first in

the international trade of both raw and processed spuds.

See also Highest Value Dutch Export ProductsAsparagus Exports by CountryTop Sweet Pepper and Chili Pepper Exports and Top Cucumbers Exporting Countries

Click here to know more


Grades of Potatoes

U.S. No. 1 consists of potatoes which meet the following requirements:

  1. Similar varietal characteristics, except when designated as a mixed or specialty pack;
  2. Firm;
  3. Fairly clean;
  4. Fairly well shaped;
  5. Free from:
  • Freezing;
  • Blackheart;
  • Late blight, southern bacterial wilt and ring rot; and,
  • Soft rot and wet breakdown.
  1. Free from damage by any other cause.
  2. Size. Not less than 1-7/8 inches in diameter, unless otherwise specified in connection with the grade.

U.S. Commercial consists of potatoes which meet the requirements of U.S. No. 1 grade except for the following:

  1. Free from serious damage caused by:
  • Dirt or other foreign matter;
  • Russet scab

U.S. No. 2 consists of potatoes which meet the following requirements:

  1. Similar varietal characteristics, except when designated as a mixed or specialty pack;
  2. Not seriously misshapen;
  3. Free from:
  • Freezing;
  • Blackheart;
  • Late blight, southern bacterial wilt and ring rot; and,
  • Soft rot and wet breakdown.
  1. Free from serious damage by any other cause.
  2. Size. Not less than 1-1/2 inches in diameter, unless otherwise specified in connection with the grade.



Restrictions on the sale of potatoes

– Potatoes are sold according to the classes

– Potatoes comply with the standards regarding quality

– Containers in which such potatoes are presented for sale have been manufactures according to the requirements

– Potatoes are packed in a container and in a prescribed manner

– Containers carrying potatoes are marked with the particulars and in the manner prescribed

Classes for potatoes

There are four classes for potatoes namely:

– Class 1

– Class 2

– Class 3

– Lowest class


Standard for classes

Potatoes which are classified as class 1, class 2, class 3 and the lowest class shall comply with the specifications as per regulation. The maximum extent to which class 1, class 2, and class 3

potatoes deviate from the prescribed specifications shall be determined as follows:

  • Examine the tubers in the sample of the consignment physically and on the basis of the colour plates, in order to determine whether such deficiencies occur thereon or therein: provided that any tuber from the sample suspected of internal deficiencies may be dissected for the purpose of confirmation or otherwise of the observation concerned.
  • Determine with regard to each of the separate quality factors.
  • Express the mass determined as the percentage of the net mass of the container of potatoes, such percentage represents the extent to which potatoes with deviation concerned are present in such container: provided that in case of the internal quality defects the degree of the deviation shall be determined as a percentage of 3kg.


Container requirements

Potatoes shall be packed in containers which:

– Are new, intact, clean, suitable and strong enough for the packing and normal handling of potatoes.

– Shall not impart a taste or odour to the potatoes.

– In case of a carrier container, shall be strong enough not to bulge out or dent in during normal handling and transporting practices.


Packing requirements

– Potatoes shall, in the case of class 1 class 1, class 2, class 3 and lowest class correspond in cultivar, class, and size group in the same consignment: provided that the size group shall not be applicable to class 3.

– Containers shall be closed by bunch tying with the suitable wire tie or by sewing with suitable tying string or with a suitable lid or whatever the choice of packaging may be.


Marking requirements

– The prescribed marking requirements in the regulations are used to provide the consumer with accurate and relevant information on a product, so as to allow an informed and personal choice to be made.

– Containers containing potatoes shall be marked in clear and legible block letters of at least 5mm in height using English and any other official language with the following compulsory particulars.


Size group Mass


Size groupMass
Baby5g (min) – 50g (max)
Small50g (min) – 100g (max)
Medium90g (min) – 170g (max)
Large-medium150g (min) – 250g (max)
Large250g (min) – and more


Restricted particulars

No wording, illustration or other means of expression which constitute a misrepresentation or which directly or by implication may create a misleading impression of the content or the quality or the class thereof, shall appear on a container containing potatoes.,%20packing%20and%20marking%20of%20potatoes.pdf

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 Processing Potato Equipments

Sormac is an international specialist in the development and production of potato processing equipment. Apart from stand-alone potato processing equipment like a potato peeler, Sormac also produces complete lines and technology for food processing, as well as supplying reliable service worldwide through our skilled engineers. We aim to provide our customers with adequate help as effectively as possible.


Quality potato processing equipment

Sormac solutions for vegetable processing mainly consist of potato processing equipment like a potato peeling machine, carrot processing equipment, onion peeling equipment, leafy vegetable processing equipment, cucumber processing equipment and bell pepper de-coring equipment. Reliability, hygiene, precision and a long lifespan are typical of all Sormac equipment as a result of our market oriented development policy.


Reliable machines

Below, you’ll find a list of our potato processing machines. Please click on the links for more details and product folders.

– Potato processing equipment: Screw de-stoner SO 50/250-R, SO 50/250-C
– Potato peeler: Carborundum roller peeler CRP
– Potato processing equipment: Revolver peeler CRR-25/250


Potato peelers 

The MS-Combi potato knife peeler is suitable to peel pre-cleaned potatoes. Together with a screw de-stoner type SO, a roller inspection table type RLT and the AFW-40 weighing machine, this peeler creates a complete potato peeling line.  The potatoes will also notice the difference; there is a trend that growing numbers of small and medium sized peeling companies are switching to knife peeling and closing the door on the era of carborundum forever. Consumers appear to find more favour with knife peeled potatoes than with carborundum peeled ones. Knife peeled potatoes look far nicer. And an added advantage is the longer shelf life, which is of course fantastic news for the end users with Sormac potato peelers!

Over 100 sold machines are proof of the quality of Sormac’s drum knife peeler. However, that was no reason for the Sormac engineers to rest on their laurels. Without detracting from the basic concept, they drastically changed a number of details of the drum:

On two sides of the drum, the small cleaning panels were replaced with hinged panels across the length of the drum. All plastic parts are made of blue material. Only antibacterial plastic is used complying with the latest EU regulations.

The numerous users speak highly of the potato peelers due to its conveniently arranged and hygienic design and easy clean ability. The new measures will further improve this. Access is increased and the knives can be exchanged more easily.

The results of a poll among 25 users of our potato peelers with the question why they would choose a Sormac machine again, say more than we could say ourselves:

Lower energy consumption

Only 3 motors for the whole machine

Low noise levels

Long knife life

Constant speed of the knives in comparison with wing-knives

All elements that make the Sormac potato peelers unbeatable!



Technical Factors

The Potato’s Biological Characteristics

Many constraints derive from the biological characteristics of the potato itself. These include the low multiplication rates of seed tubers, and the technical difficulties and costs associated with maintaining seed quality through successive multiplications, owing to the potato’s susceptibility to soil and seed-borne insect pests and diseases. Seed tubers are also bulky: two to three tonnes per hectare is the typical seed requirement. Stringent phyto sanitary restrictions limit the movement of potato germplasm, seed tubers and fresh ware potatoes. Potatoes have high fertilizer requirements but low utilization efficiency. Post-harvest, fresh potato tubers deteriorate quickly in tropical and subtropical environments, especially in the lowlands.


Lack of Efficient Seed Systems

Many developing countries lack efficient systems for the regular multiplication and distribution of certified seed tubers and the rapid deployment of new, improved varieties. Causal factors include the limited technical capacity of human resources, lack of managerial expertise and inadequate resource allocations to seed systems and the potato subsector in general. As a result, farmer-based seed systems are still common, and have managed to supply planting material of limited quality over the years, and contributed to expanding cultivation of the crop. Farmer seed systems face many challenges, but also offer an opportunity to improve seed supply, provided suitable training is available and links with the formal sector are established.


Diseases and Insect Pests

Diseases and insect pests are another major constraint. New strains of late blight have reached many developing countries and continue to spread. Late blight constitutes the most serious threat to increased potato production. Second to late blight in importance, particularly in warmer, more tropical regions, is bacterial wilt. The impact of insect pests varies between regions. Major insect pests include aphids, tuber moths, leaf miners, Colorado potato beetle and Andean potato weevil.


Social Economic Factors

High production costs and lack of credit

Compared to other food crops, production of potatoes is capital-intensive, requiring the purchase of large quantities of bulky seed and the application of high-cost inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. With limited access to credit and few means of mitigating the risks of taking out loans, small-scale farmers find it difficult to compete in potato production. The current global financial crisis could leave a great number of farmers with little money and no credit to invest in production.


Price instability

With potato becoming increasingly a cash crop, small-scale potato growers are vulnerable to abrupt changes in input and output prices. Seasonal and year-to-year price movements can affect individual small growers who lack the financial resources and resilience of larger producers and cooperatives.


Inefficiency of local markets

Potato prices are usually determined by supply and demand, not the vagaries of international markets as in the case of cereals. It is, therefore, a crop that can help low-income farmers and consumers to ride out episodes of food price inflation, such as that experienced worldwide in 2007-08. However, the profitability of potato depends on efficient local markets and measures to control overproduction.


Limited access to higher value markets

To be successful, small-scale potato growers need access to profitable emerging domestic markets – such as the rapidly growing processing segment – as well as to potato export markets. However, access to domestic markets is often restricted by the marketing power of foreign suppliers, while exports are constrained by trade barriers in developed countries to processed products from the developing world. However, there are encouraging “success stories” that illustrate how small-scale producers can increase production and expand their market share. In India, potato growers who adapted new technology with the support of McCain Foods Ltd more than doubled their yields and incomes. Other private industries, including small businesses, have launched potato chips made from coloured native potatoes that were prototyped by CIP in order to promote the sustainable use of biodiversity in the Andean Region. Recent legislation in the USA and Europe provide greater access to agricultural products from the developing world


Policy and institutional factors

Neglect of the potato subsector

With a few notable exceptions – such as Ethiopia – most developing countries have policies toward the potato subsector, and especially small-scale producers, that can be best characterized as “benign neglect”. Little or no public investment is targeted at integrated strategies for crop improvement, value addition and marketing schemes or the potato production-processing-marketing chain. Many countries lack adequate seed production systems backed by certification and seed laws. Breeding rights are often not respected, reducing incentives to breeders to create new adapted and resistant varieties. In many areas, poor infrastructural facilities and poor access to markets are also major challenges to expansion of potato production and its profitability.


Inadequate capacity building initiatives

The potato has attracted private sector investment in the crucial area of seed multiplication and seed systems in only a few countries. Support for programmes for the diffusion of new varieties and for the scaling up of existing integrated disease and insect pest management technologies and methodologies is generally inadequate. Programmes to upgrade the skills of potato growers need to be matched by government efforts to create, monitor and enforce regulations on pesticide use and the spread of pesticide or fertilizer residues into water supplies, which are major constraints to the sustainability of potato production systems.


Lack of support to farmer organizations and entrepreneurs

Support for potato farmer groups and associations and for local entrepreneurship is lacking in many countries. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, powerful lobbies represent the most serious obstacle to the development of a local seed potato industry. One notable exception is Argentina, where efforts are being made by public and private sector to improve seed quality and promote variety development, and to transfer technology for integrated crop management to its contract growers.


Good Agricultural Practices

GAPs may be applied to a wide range of farming systems and at different scales. They are applied through sustainable agricultural methods, such as integrated pest management, integrated water and fertilizer management, and conservation agriculture. GAPs are based on four principles:

  • to economically and efficiently produce sufficient quantities of safe and nutritious food;
  • to sustain and enhance;
  • to maintain viable farming enterprises and contribute to livelihoods;
  • to meet the cultural and social needs of society.

GAP applications are being developed by governments, NGOs and the private sector to meet the needs of growers and processors and for other specific purposes. They provide the opportunity to assess and decide on which to follow at each step of the production process. It is important that GAPs are applied in a coordinated way. For each agricultural production system, GAPs should be part of a comprehensive management strategy, providing for adjustments when needed in response to changing conditions. The implementation of such a management strategy requires knowledge, planning, measuring, monitoring and record-keeping at each step of the production process. Adoption of GAPs may sometimes result in higher production, processing and marketing costs, and higher prices for the consumer. To minimize costs, while maintaining the quality and safety of food products, participatory technical training and advice can be used to inform farmers of new technologies that will benefit them. Information on options for GAP adoption would be facilitated through the use of common databases and information exchange platforms on available enabling technologies and integrated production techniques for different major agro ecological areas.


Examples of GAPs

  • Soil management
  • Reduce wind and water erosion through hedging and ditching.
  • Apply fertilizers at appropriate moments in adequate doses (e.g. based on soil analysis and crop requirement) to avoid extra costs and possible run-off and leaching.
  • Maintain or restore soil organic content through application of manure, use of grazing and/or crop rotation.
  • Reduce soil compaction by avoiding use of heavy machinery.
  • Maintain soil structure by limiting heavy and sometimes unnecessary tillage practices, and through use of cover crops such as pulses.
  • Water use efficiency
  • Use minimum or zero-tillage and maintain soil cover to reduce soil evaporation and improve soil structure and water infiltration.
  • To avoid water loss by drainage, schedule irrigation and monitor plant needs and soil water reserve status.
  • Prevent soil salinization by matching water input to needs, allowing some drainage and recycling water whenever possible.
  • Avoid excessive drainage and fertilizer run-off.
  • Maintain permanent soil cover in winter to avoid nitrogen run-off and wind erosion that contributes to soil degradation.
  • Carefully manage the water table by limiting withdrawals.
  • Avoid soil compaction (e.g., caused by too many passes of farm machinery) which can cause water logging and lead to emergence of potato diseases during storage.