Potatoes are one of the strategically important crops for Uzbekistan. At the same time, it is worthy of attention from the standpoint of the development of a profitable agribusiness. The seminar "Potato growing technology" held in the Bustanlik district of the Tashkent region was devoted to this topic.
It was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Association of Potato Growers and AGROVER LLC - the market leader in the production of food (table) and seed potatoes, storage and complete processing, Nuz.uz reports.
Realities and prospects for the development of potato growing in Uzbekistan
More than 156 million tons of potatoes are produced in 376,9 countries of the world. Uzbekistan ranks 23rd among these countries. The largest producers are China, India, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Germany, Bangladesh, Poland, France and the Netherlands.
In 2020, 2,9 million tons of potatoes were grown in Uzbekistan in all categories of farms throughout the country, of which 1,5 million tons fell on farms and agricultural enterprises.
“In 2021, it is planned to plant potatoes on a total of 86,5 thousand hectares, of which 50,7 thousand hectares will be planted on the main areas, 3 thousand hectares in the aisles of orchards and vineyards and 32 on secondary areas, 8 thousand hectares, - said the head of the department for the development of horticulture, viticulture, horticulture and potato cultivation of the Ministry of Agriculture Fakhriddin Kirgizboev. - It is also planned to grow 3,2 million tons of products by all categories of farms (1,5 million tons - by farms, agricultural enterprises, 1,7 million tons by dekhkan farms and on personal plots). In order to meet the needs of the population for potatoes and maintain price stability in domestic markets, farmers, dekhkans and entrepreneurs are provided with comprehensive support in planting potatoes in the main areas and in the aisles of orchards and vineyards. The farms are provided with high reproduction potato seeds. Taking into account the soil and climatic conditions of each region, due to the early planting of correctly selected potato seeds and the implementation of agrotechnical measures on time, today price stability in the market is achieved as a result of harvesting and timely delivery of the early potato harvest in the southern regions, namely in Surkhandarya. and Kashkadarya regions. In connection with the demand of the population for potatoes, since June and in all other regions, the supply of potatoes has been established in the domestic markets. Sowing potatoes as a late crop begins in June in areas freed from wheat and other early crops. In addition, specialists from agricultural enterprises and scientific institutes organize scientific and practical seminars on planting potatoes on repeated areas, conducting agrotechnical measures, and combating diseases and pests. Explanatory work is carried out on the correct selection of varieties, timely agrotechnical measures in farms, and recommendations are provided based on the soil and climatic conditions of the regions. "
State policy in the field of potato growing
Currently, increased attention is paid to potato production in Uzbekistan. At the state level, various benefits are being developed and introduced, which allow to maximize the implementation of existing opportunities in practice and lead to reforming the industry and meeting the population's demand for potatoes. The state also contributes to the development of potato seed production, the introduction of storage systems and deep processing, which allows creating an additional value chain.
On May 6, 2020, a Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (No.PP-4704) was adopted, aimed at increasing the production of consumer (table) and seed potatoes and fully meeting the demand for potatoes in the domestic market of the republic, expanding cluster and cooperation mechanisms, introducing modern technologies in the field potato growing. According to this Resolution, 40 districts are focused on potato production, in particular, 23 districts for seed potatoes, and 9 districts for high-reproduction seed potatoes.
In these areas, 8 potato-growing clusters have been created, which have been allocated 2 hectares of land for growing seed and consumer potatoes, and the cultivation of potato seeds of high reproduction has been established.
One example is the agro-industrial potato-growing cluster Agrover, created in the Tashkent region, which provides the entire chain of potato production from seeds to deep processing. The cluster uses modern technologies and equipment to optimize production processes, rational and productive use of land and water resources.
“Due to the introduction of a sprinkler irrigation system and mechanization on 700 hectares of area in 2019-2020, it was possible to obtain up to 40-45 tons of products per hectare of land,” comments Farkhod Takhirov, director of the Agrover Agro-Industrial Potato Cluster. - Considering that potatoes require special storage and logistics conditions, special attention in cluster production is paid to the development of storage systems for consumer and seed potatoes in modern refrigerated warehouses. The launch of an agro-industrial logistics center in the Bustanlik region made it possible for our cluster to increase the capacity of simultaneous storage of potatoes to 50 thousand tons, and to increase the capacity of primary processing (sorting, calibration and packaging) to 100 tons per hour. All this makes it possible to drastically reduce potato losses and minimize them, as well as provide high-quality logistics from the field to the consumer. "
The Bustanlik Potato Center (LLC JV “Bustanlik potatochilik markazi”), included in the cluster, has established the cultivation of seed potatoes of high reproductions in special fields. The annual production of seed potatoes is about 20 thousand tons.
Science and technology in the development of potato production
The country is actively launching processes that promote the reproduction of healthy seed potatoes. Thus, in-vitro laboratories have been created in Tashkent, Samarkand, Namangan and Kashkadarya regions, where the production of seed potatoes has been established.
The Uzbek-Hungarian Potato Center, among the main tasks of which is the breeding of resistant potato varieties, was opened in 2021 in the pilot AKIS Center for Agricultural Knowledge, Innovation and Services, created by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the support of the European Union and the World Bank as part of the implementation of the Development Strategy agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan until 2030 ”.
“Today, the country's research institutes are working on the introduction of modern cultivation and localization technologies, for example, they create early-maturing, mid-ripening and late-ripening potato varieties adapted to local soil and climatic conditions,” stressed the chief specialist of the department of vegetable and melon crops and potatoes, development department horticulture, viticulture, horticulture and potato cultivation of the Ministry of Agriculture Teshaboev Bakhodir. - Much attention is paid to their resistance to disease, heat and drought. The State Register of Agricultural Crops includes 131 new potato varieties recommended for planting in the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan, of which 19 varieties were created by local research institutes. Long-term research of scientists and their cooperation with local and foreign practitioners lead to successful scientific achievements. "
According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated February 26, 2021 No. PP-5009, a program of measures has been developed to organize primary seed production of potatoes, along with vegetables, melons and gourds in Bustonlyk, Bulungur, Yangikurgan, Andijan, Altyaryk, Muzrobod, Mirzaobod districts. The "Fund for financial support of scientific research and innovative developments, the development of breeding varieties of potatoes and potato seed production" was created at the Scientific Research Institute of Vegetable and Melon Crops and Potatoes.
New potato varieties are being developed in collaboration with the World Potato Center (CIP), and special attention is paid to growing potatoes from botanical seeds. In order to study the experience of foreign countries, training and advanced training of scientists and specialists in foreign countries, exchange of experience and implementation of innovative technologies in production are provided.