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Bangladesh potato glut: Only exports can absorb surplus

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Staff Writer | March 2, 2019
As the seventh largest producer of potatoes in the world, Bangladesh is still struggling in offering potato growers a tangible solution to the yearly market glut.
Bangladesh potato
Asia   Each year farmers in the country produce in excess of 10 million tons of potato
Each year farmers in the country produce in excess of 10 million tons of potato with at least 2 million tons in exportable surpluses.

But Bangladesh lost one of its most potential export markets in Russia due to shipping diseased potatoes, and over the past four years neither government nor exporters succeeded in reviving the export supply lines.

Against this backdrop, the ministry of agriculture held a stakeholders meeting on Wednesday, deciding to form a committee mandating it to come up with an action plan on how to increase exports of potato, the world’s fourth largest food crop after maize, wheat, and rice.

Interestingly though, people tracking the potato trade recalled that right after Russia’s imposing a temporary ban on potato imports from Bangladesh back in early 2015, the government then had also formed an 11-strong committee to explore an action plan.

But years later, nothing fruitful yielded, necessitating another meeting, another committee, and another action plan.

Bangladesh’s yearly potato exports crossed a 0.1 million ton ceiling back in FY2013-14, plummeting to 53,000 tons last year.