Bangladesh stands 7th in the global ranking of potato production and grows over 10 million MT which is 3.15% of global production and most of it is table potato. Only 2% of our potatoes are processed for chips and crackers. The amount of export is very insignificant with 55 thousand MT with a value of 51 Mn USD which is less than 1% of the total potato production. The demand of processed food products is increasing significantly and there is also ample scope to increase the share in the export market. For example, Russia has an annual demand of 26 Mn MT. However, it requires industrial grade and export grade high quality potatoes. The industrial variety requires a specific set of characteristics such as: for French fry varieties, the tuber shape needs to be oblong, the texture should be fairly firm, dry matter content should be high, more than 20%, and very low sugar content (0.2-0.4%) with lower oil absorption (3-4%). The export varieties should be rich in high starch with low moisture content percentage.
The Government is focusing to increase the production of industry and export grade potato and has declared potato as a non-notified crop for 3 years. As a response to this favorable policy ACI Seed has launched a promising industrial potato variety “Valencia” after a multiple trails and demonstrations in the potential cultivated areas. The variety has it’s the origin in the Netherlands and is registered under the brand name “ACI Alu -10” in Bangladesh. Valencia is a very promising variety with average yield of 39 MT per hectare which is 38% more than the most popular variety in Bangladesh. The average weight is 80 gm of about 70% tubers. It can be used for table as well as for industrial purpose. It has dry matter percentage of about 21%, sugar content 0.3% and oil absorption 3%. Valencia is a late blight and scab resistant variety. The harvesting duration is 80-85 days which is 5-10 days shorter than the regular varieties in our country. Moreover, it can be harvested as an early variety from 55-60 days for table potato. Valencia can be stored for 70-75 days in normal temperature which will reduce the storage scarcity. Bangladesh currently imports huge amount potato in different forms (Flakes, Starch, Raw) which can be replaced by this variety.
Valencia has a huge business prospect which is economically viable for making flakes, starch, chips, French fry etc. The cultivation of the variety will help the farmers to get better price and reduce the uncertainty of profitability.
Dr. F H Ansarey
ACI Agribusinesses Division