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Indians want Bhutanese potato!

The disease-resistant and healthier potatoes of Bhutan are in high-demand in the Indian markets.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2006 16:47 IST

The disease-resistant and healthier potatoes of Bhutan are in high-demand in the Indian markets.

"These seed potatoes are more disease resistant, healthier and yield more compared with those from the Indian state of Punjab," said a Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) official in the border town of Phuentsholing.

Bhutan's agriculture ministry distributed free seed potatoes to farmers in Hooghly and Burdman districts of West Bengal to find out how they fared in the Indian soil and market, the kingdom's state-run newspaper Kuensel reported.

"The differences had made farmers ask for more Bhutanese potatoes," said Pranad Pal, an Indian trader from Hooghly.

According to him, there are other added advantages in importing potato from Bhutan.

"Bhutanese potato was about Rs 300 less for 50 kg compared to that from Punjab," said Pal, adding that even transportation charges were cheaper from Phuentsholing than from Punjab.

Officials of FCB and Bhutan Potato Development Programme (BPDP), however, said the quality of the potatoes should be maintained to capture the already growing market in India.

"This year the demand is great but it can drop if the potatoes we sold do not do well," said Sangay Wangdi, an auction yard complex manager.

He said regions would be studied to determine which area produced quality potatoes. "We will segregate and specialise them," he added.

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