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Potato supply for region

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

NINE tonnes of Red Pontiac potatoes have been assigned to the Western Division to meet the demand in the division.

Principal agricultural officer Vinesh Kumar said the potatoes were imported in July to meet the demands in the country.

"A total of 10 tonnes was brought in last month and nine tonnes were for the West."

He said the potatoes had been distributed to various farms in the region.

"The potatoes have been supplied to farmers in Rakiraki, Nadarivatu, Tavua, Ba, Nadroga and Navosa.

"We are anticipating a good yield from this supply and we hope to harvest about one tonne within 12 to 13 weeks."

According to the government, the Red Pontiac variety was previously grown in Fiji from the 1860s until the 1990s.

Over the past four years, farmers were growing temperate varieties imported from New Zealand including the Red Rascal, Ivory Crisp, Illam Hardy, Nadeem and Rocket which produced about four to seven tonnes per hectare.

The Ministry of Agriculture has introduced the five-year Potato Research and Development program this year.

Currently, Fiji imports about 23million tonnes of potatoes worth $22m annually.

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