Pakistan confronts the curse of potato success

Aamir Saeed

Two years ago, as increasingly extreme weather battered his wheat crop, the 34-year-old mountain farmer turned to growing potatoes, an experimental crop in the area.

The switch was a huge success. His usual harvest of 10 tonnes of wheat and animal fodder per hectare soared to 55 tonnes, and his income shot up as well, allowing him to make plans for the first time to enroll his oldest child in private school.

The problem is, his neighbors did the same thing. Now, in the Gobor valley where Shah lives, 60 percent of people grow potatoes, and as a result potato prices are plunging, seed is getting ever more costly and nobody’s quite sure how to store or get to market the area’s huge harvest.

Finding ways to adapt to increasingly erratic and severe weather is crucial for farmers in Pakistan and around the world. But adaptation efforts can have unforeseen consequences, creating new problems that also need solutions. Complete story HERE

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