Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) of China on 7 January 2015 announced to include potatoes as staple diet after rice, wheat and corn.
The decision was based upon an attempt to ensure food security, ease the pressure on the environment and increase the income of farmers.
The addition of potatoes as another staple food was consistent with the government's policy of adjusting the agriculture structure to achieve sustainable development.
The officials claimed that almost 50 per cent of annual production of potatoes will be consumed as a staple food by 2020 in China to improve the food security.
To maintain the food security, China will turn potatoes into noodles, steamed bread and other staple food products. They will convert potatoes to a series of manufactured food items which lead to a healthier diet.
As potato is easy to grow even in barren lands, it would also guarantee food supply. The potato is of higher nutritional value compared with rice and wheat flour, which lose considerable dietary fiber and nutrients during processing.
To meet the increasing demand the techniques of processing potatoes will also be improved. They also called for a campaign to promote the consumption of potatoes.
Popularising the consumption of potatoes would not compromise the existing cultivated land for wheat, rice and corn.
Many potato-lovers supported the policy, while others doubted if the policy was a result of inadequate production of traditional staple food in China.
China is under pressure with a huge population but limited farmland, which makes potatoes a perfect supplement to the present staple food system of China.
The decision would encourage the increased planting of potatoes and bring some improvements to the food processing industry, but this would require greater government support.
When: 7 January 2015
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