Did you know that potatoes were first cultivated in Spain around 16th century? They are edible tuberous plants which for many years were considered poisonous and unfit for consumption. However, later they were proved to be edible and fit for consumption.
In most parts of the world, potatoes are staple food since they are used in preparation of diverse variety of meals from chips to mashed cuisine. Before 1990, potatoes were only a delicacy to North American states, former Soviet Union countries and Europe; it is from then that people started incorporating them into their meals. Besides, it is from that point that the crops started being grown in, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The rise of fast foods popularised potatoes since French fries are some of the popular food in the world. Since potatoes are produces all over the world and are year-round crops, there are many countries that produce them in large scale. Below are top 10 largest potato producing countries in the world 2018.
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This is top ranked country in potato production in the world; its production cannot be matched with any other country due to its vast harvest. The Chinese government has plans to increase production significantly since the crop has the highest per acreage income than other crops. The domestic demand has been increasing slowly over the years. Besides, about 15 percentage is used in processed potato products like frozen French fries and chips.
Since industrialisation is high in China, the number of middle and upper class has been increasing and this has popularised Westernised cuisine. The largest production areas in the country is in the western and northern regions. Moreover, the major challenges in China are lack of high-quality seeds, pest and diseases as well as coordination of farmers. With the increasing production in the country, farmers have started cultivating huge portions of land under potato plantations. The annual production for potatoes in China are 96.13 million tons which is an equivalent to 25.4%.
Potato production in India blew up from 1950s and by 2000 the production had grown up by about 850 percent. Industrialisation is on the rise in the country and this has resulted to increased middle and upper class who have huge income to consume diverse types of foods including French fries. The per capita consumption in India is 17 kilograms per year and it has increased gradually over the years.
Besides, the major production areas are the western part of India which is mostly owned by small-scale farmers. The southern part of India is not favorable for potatoes growth since for them to flourish they require mild and cool temperatures. The production in the country is approximated to be 45.4 million tons per years which is equivalent to 12% of the global production.
3. Russian Federation
Before the 1990s, Russia was the leading producer of potatoes; that was before the fall of the Soviet Union when potato farms were socialised under the Soviet government. It is worth noting that 79 percent of the production is by small-scale farmers who grew the crop in their yards while 13% is by large enterprises. This shows that the government has been able to control production by managing the farming through households. Besides, the production by these farmers was either used as staple food and the surplus was sold domestically in the local markets.
The cool climate in Russia makes it possible for potato farms to be spread throughout the country. In the recent times, there has been larger operations near Moscow by enterprises who have invested in large potato plantations. This has helped the country to earn more income to enable them to finance acquisition of high-tech equipment to help in planting, weeding, harvesting and storage purposes. The annual potato production in Russia is estimated to stand at 31.5 million tons which is equated to 8.0% of global production.
Potato farming in Ukraine is historically known for its uses in processing into starch and production of alcohol. The crop was embraced as a staple diet in the country by the early years of 20th century; currently statistics shows that per capita consumption stands at 136 kilograms which is among the leading globally. Besides, geologists claim that Ukraine accounts for 30 percent of black soil which is believed to be the best for agricultural practices; it is still a mystery that the country is not the leading producer of potatoes since the soil is expected to have extremely high yields.
However, for a long time the country has experienced pests and diseases that alter agricultural production. Small-scale farming is the leading producer of potatoes in the Ukraine accounting for 97 percent of the total production, the farmers sell their potatoes to established large distributors. The country producers about 23.7 million tons of potatoes every year which is estimated to be 5.9% of global production.
5. The United States
Just like France, the leading vegetable harvested in United States is potatoes. It accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total sales from farm vegetables. Of the harvested potatoes, 50% is processed into chips, starch, and animal feed among other products. The country is known for its trade surplus and it uses it as exports into Mexico, Japan, and Canada. Besides, the country has been consolidating its farms and it has been able to form larger plantations than before reducing the farms from 51,500 to 15,014 farms. The major potato production areas in U.S. are Washington and Idaho which produce about half of the total production; this is powered by the climatic conditions which are moderate-to-cool. The annual production of potatoes in United States is approximately 20.05 million tons which translates to 5.2% of global production.
The country is the European leader in potato production. The crop was introduced in Germany in 16th century and was used until late 18th century as a fodder crop for their livestock. When a tough famine hit the country in 1770s the government started encouraging people to use potatoes as a source of food since it was edible after cooking, available in plenty, and was affordable. Besides, statistics show that production in the country has dwindled since 1960s but it continues to be a lead producer of the tubers. The country just like France in the last few decades has been consolidating its potato farms so as to increase production. However, the per acreage production has been consistent and it continues to research on how to increase it to match Netherland’s per acreage production. The production of potatoes in Germany is estimated at 11.80 million tons every year.
It is surprising that a populous country like Bangladesh is among the powerhouses of potato production since the population per square kilometer is 1,101 people. With such a population density, it is hard to find sufficient land for farming and afford to be among the leading countries worldwide. However, the country has surpassed all odds to ensuring that potato production is increasing over the decades to satisfy demand. Besides, it is essential stating that potatoes are staple food in Bangladesh and statistics show that it is ranked third among the import foods in the country by tonnage consumption. The annual production of this crop in Bangladesh is estimated to be 9.45 million tons.
Did you know that Poland was the second largest producer after Russia in the 1970s? The country has a long history of potato farming and even today even if it lost that glory it continues being among the prime producers of these beloved crop. Besides, it is worth noting that about 50% of their produce was used as animal feeds while 25% was consumed directly by families and food businesses. Production in Poland was high until the fall of Soviet Union that affected production in most countries. The reason behind the decline was because of the reduced potato prices in addition to a decline in pork farming is Soviet Union that caused demand reduction since it used potatoes to feed pigs. Potato production in the country is estimated to be 8.20 million tons every year.
Potatoes are the leading vegetable produced in the country; it has been so for several years. Production in France has been constant over many years despite the dwindling domestic demand and consumption. The country had consolidated its farmers and around 80 percent of the country’s production comes from approximately 22% of the French farmers. Additionally, about 25% of the production is processed although new development in the processing industry has not been experienced for a few years. The annual production of potatoes in France is approximately 8.02 million tons.
10. The Netherlands
The country is a prime producer of potatoes despite having small portion of land under potato cultivation than any other European county. The expanding demand in domestic market has caused the rise in production as well as the processing demand of most Dutch potatoes. Moreover, Netherlands is famous for having the highest crop per acreage yields as well as being the leading high-quality potato seed supplier in the world. A few years ago, the country was the European leader in potato export before being overtaken by France and Germany. The annual potato production in Netherlands is estimated at 7.33 million tons.
Weren’t for these top 10 potato producing countries in the world we would not enjoy one of the worlds most loved junk food the chips in addition Crisps. Potatoes are nutritious as they are classified as carbohydrates and if your looking for an energy giving food try potatoes.