Potatoes were first introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world's cuisine. It is the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat and maize. In Egypt the crop was introduced on a small scale during the nineteenth century. It is nowadays the second most important vegetable crop after.
- Solanum tuberosum
- Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
- Main Varieties:
- Most imported varieties (like Spunta, Mirka, Alpha, Ajax, Diamant, Famosa, Vulkano, Mansour and Origo) originate from The Netherlands. Other varieties are imported from France (like Korigane and Lori). Some German varieties have been planted (like Ilona and Jetta) from West Germany and even Kenwebec from Canada.
An active extension service program has helped raise average yields to about 20 T/Ha while some farmers are able to achieve 40-50 T/Ha.
- Marketing Information and Uses:
The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe) where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world's largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world's potatoes are harvested in China and India.
- Fresh and Processed
- Local consumption
- Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
- Soil Type:
- Potatoes prefer well aerated, loamy soil with good drainage. Soil Salinity, water logging and high levels of calcium-carbonate are undesirable for potato cultivation as they negatively affect productivity and starch content.
- The average maximum temperature in potato producing areas is 35 °C in the summer and 10 °C in winter.
- Water Requirements:
- In the Jordan Valley, potatoes and other crops are grown under irrigation, using either flood or sprinkler systems, while drip irrigation is sometimes used in the uplands.
- Nutrition Requirements:
- Soil should be subjected to analysis for nutrient availability in order to develop an appropriate fertilization program.
- Harvesting Period:
- In the Jordan Valley, potatoes are planted from late September until January/February. The crop in the southern regions of the Valley is usually planted from the beginning of October to mid-November and harvested about four months later. In the northern
Jordan Valley, planting usually takes place from mid-December to early February. Some parts of the valley are able to grow both early and late crops. In the uplands, where agriculture is generally rain fed, only a spring crop is possible due to high summer and low winter temperatures; Planting occurs from early April to mid-May.
- Harvesting Methods:
- Hand picking and mechanism