Potato is a root vegetable which is the tuber- the underground storage stem or root-of the herb plants scientifically known as ‘Solanum tuberosum’, from the family ‘Solanaceae’.
Potato is believed to have originated from Peru and is in use since about 10,000 years ago. There are more than 4,000 varieties of potato in the world and around 200 of them are globally used as a staple food.
Potatoes are normally with brown or yellow to red outer skin and contain starch. They are also rich in vitamin C, high in potassium, and a good source of fiber which is ideal for keeping cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control to prevent heart diseases.
Potatoes are rich in antioxidants which are good and effective in preventing diseases. In short, potatoes are a good staple food as well as they possess many medicinal properties.
Potato plants thrive in well-drained sandy soils with sufficient organic matter and a cool climate. But, excessively wet soils can spoil the potatoes or even the plants. Unlike many other vegetable plants, potato plants require acid soils with pH 4.8-5.5.
Normally, October-November is the planting season and can be harvested after 3-4 months depending on the varieties.
Potato was first cultivated and used in Peru by the Inca Indians. By 1536 the Spanish discovered the use of potato and later introduced it to many other parts of the world, especially to Europe.
By the early 17th century, potatoes were introduced in India by the Portuguese and the British spread its cultivation all over North India. Today the potatoes are an unavoidable vegetable in Indian diet.
With more than 22% of the total global production,China is the largest producer of potato in the world,followed by India, Russia,Ukraine and the US.
After China, India is the largest consumer of potato, while the top exporters are France and Netherlands. And Belgium, Netherlands,Spain and Germany are the main importers of potato.
In India Uttar Pradesh is the biggest producer of potato who contributes more than 31% to the total production in the country. The other main producers are West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
The main trading markets of potato in India:
Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Allahabad, Ghazipur, Jhansi)
West Bengal (Kolkata, Nadia,Hooghly,Howrah,Darjeeling)
Names of Potato in different Indian languages: