The Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Shimla, has released a new potato variety Kufri Frysona. This is the first ever potato variety from India suitable for preparation of French fries. The trials conducted on the variety have shown its suitability for cultivation in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The variety produces long tubers having more than 20 per cent dry matter, informed S K Pandey, director, CPRI.
The breeder seeds will be produced after it is notified either by the state or central variety release committee. However, its quality seed as well as disease-free in-vitro planting material will be available to farmers from next year.
According to Pandey, it was a good sign that potato production was increasing with the advent of several new high-yielding varieties like Kufri Pushkar for the entire Indo-Gangetic belt, Kufri Sadabahar for Uttar Pradesh, Kufri Surya for warmer areas like Karnataka and Maharashtra. Looking at the estimated demand of nearly 50 million tonne (mt) of potato by 2020, for a population of 1.3 billion, these varieties would help meet the requirement, he said.
Pandey said that the potato processing sector had slowly emerged as a very large industry with more than 35-40 processing units located in various parts of the country. They were engaged in value-added products like potato powder, chips and French fries.
It is estimated that by 2010-11, nearly 10 per cent of the total potato produced in the country will be consumed by the processing industry, which at present is merely 4.5 per cent. This will provide good returns to the farmers on one hand and will also absorb excess supplies during a glut.