For a second, munch on these crisp facts.
We Indians consume one lakh tonnes of potatoes daily. India is the second largest producer (after China) with 4.75 crore tonnes of potatoes produced last year.
The fourth most popular food in the world after wheat, rice, and maize, the potato overthrew the banana in India as the primary source of starch many centuries ago.
It is one ‘foreign power’ that has successfully conquered India, so much so that the fact that it was introduced by the Europeans in India around the 17th century almost sounds like fiction.
As does the fact that potato is a highly nutritious, easily digestible, wholesome food containing carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and high quality dietary fibre. According to the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), potato provides more nutrition than cereals and vegetables.
There will hardly be a home where, if I may add, this ugly-looking spud is not transformed into sweet-smelling and delicious fries, mash or curry. It often makes it to the front-page news when its price goes skyrocketing, with the potential to topple the government of the day.
Thus, it is not without reason that this modified stem, masquerading as a root vegetable, is considered a cash crop by farmers here. “Many vegetable farmers in the lower end of technology grow potato because they need quick cash,” says Hemant Gaur, Founder and Director of Siddhi Vinayak Agri Processing (SV Agri), a Pune-based potato supply chain company.