Helping potato farmers deliver sustainable, quality crops in India

Today, some of the main challenges the potato market faces are:

  • The low productivity of smallholder farmers and the need to move to more sustainable production methods to protect the environment
  • Crop vulnerability and potato price fluctuations making profits difficult for smallholder growers
  • A growing demand for increase in yield output via correct crop programs and sustainable practices in water and soil management
  • Food companies need to secure supply and meet consumer's demand for a fully traceable and sustainably produced product

Although total consumption of fresh potato is decreasing globally, there is a large increase of 4-8% annually for processed potato production. The global potato market produces 190 million tonnes yearly, and India is the second largest country in potato production. In recent years, consumers driven by concern for protection of water resources have moved from rice to potato consumption, further supporting the market growth.

Similarly to the coffee industry, the potato industry works to move farmers from traditional growing methods to more sustainable, high yield production, with a focus on protecting the environment.

Yara works with farmers and food companies to increase yields, drive sales and provide sustainability and traceability to the food chain and consumers alike.

Joydeb Paul picture
Joydeb Paul
Senior Manager, Global Account Management

To learn more about our food chain partnerships in the potato sector, please send me an email.

Potato food chain partners
Potato food chain partners

Building partnerships with global food companies allows us to:

  • Reach contract farmers on a large scale with crop nutrition knowledge
  • Enhance sustainability and traceability – key requirements farmers and food companies are facing
  • Increase the profitability of the farmer through best crop practices

The Indian potato farmer

Upendra Pal Singh is a resident of Kutukpur village, District Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh. He grew up on a farm where his father used traditional farming practices for decades. Upendra was inspired through learning to take their farming methods to new heights working in partnership with food chain companies to optimize their output.

Watch the video below to see the full story:

Upendra is a leading farmer in his community, who look to him for best crop practices and knowledge. Working closely together with Yara Agra Agronomist Dr. Kushal Singh, Upendra describes how partnering with Yara has benefited his farm, his crops, his livelihood and even his family.

Farmer Upendra Pal Singh with Yara agronomist

“One of the best things Yara has taught us is how the balanced fertilizer works for our crops. We now know how to do crop balancing. Yara has guided us with this one of a kind solution on how we can effectively use its products to get maximum output even after minimizing the input. With this, we are reaping benefits financially.”

Upendra Pal Singh, potato farmer in India

Indian agriculture is confronted with several key challenges

There are over 140 million smallholder farmers in India. The yield gap between global production and Indian production levels is on average 40%. Partnering with food companies is important because they work with clusters of farmers and in this way Yara can reach a far greater number of smallholders with knowledge and crop programs.

In India, potato is produced mainly in the north of the country and is subject to enormous price fluctuations driven by varying harvest quality. Farmers bring potatoes to storage facilities where middle men buy at prices that growers have no influence over. The cost of potato production is very high therefore price/return for the farmer is very important.

Children following a delivery truck in a street in India

Yara believes that with the correct nutrient programs to support yield and quality there is an opportunity to address the yield gap and help farmers to achieve a better price for their crops. We adopt a Field to Fork approach where partnerships across the chain from farmer to processor, nutrition company and food company can support total production. To deliver across the entire food value chain in India partnerships are essential to meet the growing demand to sustainably feed the world.

Furthermore, soil health is a major issue in India, both through overuse and low nutrient use efficiency. To address this we deploy extensive soil testing and a holistic approach to crop nutrition and sustainable farming practices in the programs we run with the food companies in India.

Based on our local and global crop knowledge we can offer a win-win situation to both farmer and food company in terms of:

  • Higher profits for farmers by using Yara premium solutions
  • Less waste as crop quality and crop specifications are met
  • Meeting consumer demand on quality, traceability, and environment – this trend is only going to increase in the future.