In conversation with Mr. Himanshu Patel and Manohar Lal Shardiya
Mr. Himanshu Patel (left), dealer in potatoes for processing in India.
Holding the nerve
‘India is the second largest producer of potatoes, after China. The potato is very popular amongst Indians. Every household in India consumes potatoes in their daily food. Table potatoes cover a major share of the market, whereas processing potatoes cover 10-13 % of the total production. Major potato producing states are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat and Punjab. The potato industry is growing very rapidly. It’s an exciting industry that brings challenges now and then, but it’s a highly profitable business if one can hold one’s nerve.
My family has been operating in the potato industry for the last 45 years. 20 years back we started our own company in the state of Gujrat: SP chips pvt ltd. With a production of approximately 3.1 million metric tons in 2016 the Gujrat market ranks 5th in terms of potato production in India. We use advanced agricultural technology and our state enjoys the highest productivity. The quality of tubers improves every year.
Our company deals in processing potatoes and is a major supplier. I am acting as a bridge between producers and processors of potatoes. We supply seed to the farmers and buy back production from them on contract basis. This production we store in our own cold storages and supply major players in this industry throughout the year, like Lays, Peps, Haldiram, ITC, Balaji Iskon, etc. The last 5 years we are associated with Mahindra.
We are looking for a new variety that can help us overcome the challenges in our market, like enduring long storage and passing the sugar test throughout the year. A new variety that performs well in our state for processing purpose.’
In conversation with Mr. Manohar Lal Shardiya (right), dealer in potatoes in Madhya Pradesh India
‘My family started in 1976 with potato cultivation of traditional varieties in the state of Madhya Pradesh. After my graduation in agriculture in 1997 I took over family business and saw the potential in the potato industry. I decided to become a vendor of Pepsico. My job was to do contract farming and buy back the yield from the farmers to supply various factories of Pepsico throughout India. In 2011 I built my own cold storage. Today it has a capacity of 15,000 MT. Currently I sell approximate 3,000 MT seeds to the farmers of various table and processing varieties and supply 15,000 MT material to to different players in the potato industry like Pepsico, Lays, Balaji, Haldiram and Diamond. My company offers good quality seed, contract farming and agronomy know-how to farmers, the best quality cold store for farmers/traders, excellent quality processing potato to almost all big players in India and exports quality table potato to traders all over India.
I represent the Madhya Pradesh market of India. It ranks 4th in terms of area planted in the country, with approximate 1.36 lacs hectares in 2016 (lakh = 100.000). The potato production is of excellent quality and various government organizations declared the state as an export zone of potatoes. In our region we can harvest early. Processing potatoes are ready in December/January. This is beneficial for the farmers, because they fetch good prices for their produce.
The potato sector in India is increasing rapidly compared to other commodities, which promises a good future to all players in the potato chain. I closely work with the farmers to increase their prosperity through cultivation of good quality potatoes. Our challenge is to achieve higher yielding variety in table potatoes, and the short storability of processing varieties. Since 2011 I am associated with Mahindra and my experience is good. MHZPC should develop varieties that perform extraordinary under the climatic conditions in my state.’