Etymology of potato and potato export of India
Etymology of potato
The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain). The Spanish Royal Academy says the Spanish word is a hybrid of the Taíno batata (sweet potato) and the Quechua papa (potato). The name originally referred to the sweet potato although the two plants are not closely related. The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard referred to sweet potatoes as “common potatoes”, and used the terms “bastard potatoes” and “Virginia potatoes” for the species we now call “potato”. In many of the chronicles detailing agriculture and plants, no distinction is made between the two. Potatoes are occasionally referred to as “Irish potatoes” or “white potatoes” in the United States, to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.
The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil (or a hole) prior to the planting of potatoes. The word has an unknown origin and was originally (c. 1440) used as a term for a short knife or dagger, probably related to the Latin “spad-” a word root meaning “sword”; cf. Spanish “espada”, English “spade” and “spadroon”. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845, the name transferred to the tuber itself, the first record of this usage being in New Zealand English. The origin of the word “spud” has erroneously been attributed to an 18th-century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet (S.P.U.D.). It was Mario Pei’s 1949 The Story of Language that can be blamed for the word’s false origin. Pei writes, “the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud.” Like most other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this is false, and there is no evidence that a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet ever existed.
India export potatoes to Russia
A clutch of Punjab-based potato farmers are in the final stages of signing a deal with Russian traders for exporting close to 10,000 tonnes of the crop to Russia for the first time, reported The Times of India.
“We are likely to finalise the deal within a day or two with Russian traders who have approached us for supply of potato crop to Russia,” a progressive potato grower from Jalandhar district, who has been approached for the supply of crop, said on condition of anonymity.
About 10 potato growers from Punjab, who have been approached by the Russian traders, are reluctant to be identified and also refused to reveal the identity of the Russian traders. ‘We do not want to disclose the details (of Russian traders) with whom discussions are going on till the deal is finalized …otherwise some other potato suppliers (from Punjab) may move in, which may jeopardize our deal,’ he explained.
About two Russian traders have approached the potato growers of Punjab for the supply of the potato crop in the wake of massive shortage of potato in Russia because of low yield caused by extreme temperatures.
‘Their (Russian traders) requirement is about one lakh tonnes of potato from Punjab but we could not meet this huge requirement. We could supply only 10,000 tonnes of crop and they will have to source crop from the open market,’ he said.
What led Russian traders to source potato from Punjab was the low rate of the crop and its sufficient availability in view of the ongoing harvesting in the state. ‘In view of huge shortage of potato, the rate (in Indian currency) has soared to Rs 30-32 per kg in Russia,’ the potato grower from Punjab said.
Punjab to export potato to Russia and Middle East
Punjab to export potato to Russia and Middle East
Although the production costs of potato in Punjab (India) are around Rs 5 per kg, potato is selling at Rs 2 per kg in the wholesale market.
January 21, 2018
Four months after farmers dumped potatoes on road in Mohali and other parts of the Indian state Punjab, seeking remunerative price for their potato crop, state government has allowed the staple food’s export to Russia and the Middle East.
The past few years have witnessed surplus production of potatoes in the state Punjab. Surplus crop, however, has not been adequately transported to other states.
This glut in production and no buyers due to demonetisation over the past two seaons had led to a crash in prices. Against a production cost of around Rs 5 per kg (~ USD 0.08) , potato is selling at Rs 2 per kg (~ USD 0.03) in the wholesale market.
The price crash is a cyclical occurence in the state, but demonetisation had aggravated the crisis. Doaba has 93% of the state’s sown area of the crop at 80,000 hectares of 86,000.
Jaswinder Singh Sangha, general secretary Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA):
“If the government fails to intervene to help potato growers, Doaba farmers will be the worst-hit.”
Jaswinder Singh Sangha after the decision to allow export:
“We hope for export to Europe and the Americas to start soon as well.”
The decision to export the crop was taken during a meeting of members of the Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA) with financial commissioner, development, Vishwajeet Khanna earlier this week.
Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) will be the assisting agency. Farmers will hand over their produce to the agency, which will bear the transport cost in exporting the produce. The consignments will also be insured.
Markfed Punjab – a state cooperative supply and marketing Federation – has also been directed to purchase potatoes and supply it to government schools for use in mid-day meals.
The farmers’ demand of subsidy of Rs 2 per kg on freight is under consideration, government sources said.
“Farmers usually export the crop through private commission agents.”
“They sought the government’s assistance after they faced problems in recovery of payments from them.”
“When we receive the payment, the assured amount will be distributed between the producers and the government agency.”
He added that they were also exploring ways to export the crop to Europe and the Americas and expand the state’s reach and fulfill potential.
“To export there, we have to match their standards in cleanliness and packaging of the produce.”
BM Sharma, Markfed additional managing director:
“We have asked schools to give us their demand for potatoes and will supply accordingly for the mid-day meal.”