After centuries of relying on rice and noodles to feed its hungry masses, China is now turning to a familiar British staple to meet the needs of its 1.3bn-strong population - the humble potato.
Facing more frequent droughts, falling water tables and widespread soil erosion, China's government has designated the potato as a "strategic" crop in the latest five-year plan and is investing millions of pounds in researching new varieties, reported The Telegraph.
This spring Beijing hosted its second International Potato Expo, attracting growers from around the world, including Britain, hoping to cash in on China's new-found love for the spud.
The potato is proving attractive both to Chinese consumers, who eat an increasingly Westernised diet, and to government officials charged with maintaining China's target of being 95pc self-sufficient in food.
With 20pc of the world's population and just 7pc of its arable land China is also hoping that the potato - which produces three or four times more calories per acre than rice or corn - can alleviate poverty by boosting farmers' outputs and incomes.
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