Amid Shrinking Farmlands, Chinese May Turn to Potatoes – AFP

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Seizures of Chinese farmland for real estate developments may have another–and, in some ways, more far-reaching–consequence besides simply sparking unrest in the countryside. Or so says one expert. From AFP:

Potatoes, which can grow in dry areas not suitable for rice, are now being seriously looked at as a way to get more from a smaller area, the China Daily said, citing a study from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

“A slight increase in yield for each hectare of land used in potato farming would help meet the huge food demand of the growing population,” the academy’s vice president, Qu Dongyu, was quoted as saying.

“Potato is definitely the most nutritious staple food. It is rich in vitamin C, B, proteins and minerals.” [Full Text]

As the article notes, government figures show arable land in China has shrunk to 300 million acres, barely enough to guarantee food security.

Related reading:

  • the original China Daily article.
  • on rapid growth in China’s potato market (driven, apparently, by rising demand for french fries)
  • A Xinhua article from last week promising a boost in potato production.

[Image: Fried potatoes served in a Beijing restaurant, by Proggie via Flickr]



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