On April 19, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev participated in a presentation addressing the growth of potato farming in the country, as reported by the presidential press service.

Uzbekistan’s current demand for potatoes stands at nearly 4 million tonnes, with domestic production accounting for over 80% of this figure and imports making up the remainder, as revealed during the meeting.

With 253,000 hectares dedicated to potato cultivation and an average yield of 163 centners per hectare, Uzbekistan’s potato production lags behind that of other countries, highlighting the need for improvement in this sector.

During the meeting, problems in potato production were listed and potential solutions were discussed. Constraints in accessing elite and R1 seeds have led households and farms to resort to planting imported or substandard local varieties. Additionally, the industry faces a shortage of sown land, greenhouses for cultivating high-yielding seed potatoes, and storage facilities. Furthermore, the absence of laboratories for testing viral and bacterial diseases that contribute to reduced yields was also highlighted during the event.

The national gene pool of Uzbekistan has 250 potato varieties, with four companies and research institutes initiating the production of domestic potato seeds from 27 of these varieties.

One such enterprise is the Uzbek-Korean joint venture, Green Korea Agro Invest, located in Samarkand. To enhance its capacity, an initial allocation of 500 hectares of land is planned across Bulungur, Taylak, and Samarkand districts, as well as 2,000 hectares in the Bostanlyk district of the Tashkent region, Bakhmal and Zaamin districts of the Jizzakh region, and Kitab and Shahrisabz districts of the Kashkadarya region.

In an effort to bolster seed production, plans have been laid out to construct four hectares of greenhouses and cold storage facilities at the Research Institute for Vegetables, Melons, and Potatoes, along with one hectare at the Samarkand enterprise. Financed by the World Bank, these projects aim to establish a full-cycle potato seed growing process utilizing the in vitro method.

A potato seed production center, based on the “science-education-production” principle, is set to be established at the Samarkand branch of Tashkent State Agrarian University. A $4 million laboratory will be launched to detect latent viral diseases and assess potato quality indicators.

It was emphasized that through these initiatives, domestic demand for seed potatoes is expected to be fully met by 2025.

The head of state approved these proposals and instructed to enhance seed potato production and elevate their quality.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture has been instructed to distribute 500 tonnes of elite potato seeds to 1,700 households free of charge and to allocate preferential financial resources to potato procurers.