The Chinese Government has decided that its people need to eat more potatoes in order ease pressure on the country’s scarce agricultural resources. It is true that fresh potatoes are performing quite well as the leading starchy root in China, but they face a tough battle ahead in their quest to rival the country’s most popular carbohydrate staples. The government may well succeed in turning the potato into the economical choice, but imbuing it with trendiness is another matter.
Potato production lags behind
In early January, China’s Central Government announced that it was to turn potatoes into the country’s fourth most important staple crop after rice, wheat and corn (maize). By 2020 the area allotted to potato cultivation would be doubled to 10 million hectares (100,000 km2). The government’s motivations for this move are safeguarding the country’s vast food security, relieving environmental pressure and helping to release more of its rural farming population from the clutches of poverty.