A US delegation was in India at the end of last week to sell frozen Potato to the likes of Frito-Lay, McDonald's, Kentucky and major hotels.

The delegation consisted of John Toaspern of the US Potato Board, and Helen Masser, Sanjiv Kakkar and William Wise of the National Potato Promotion Board. (www.uspotatoes.com)

Per capita potato consumption in India is only 5 lbs/year versus 120 lbs in the west, and the mission is to raise awareness of the advantages of potato as a non-fattening food, and also develop ties with the potato trade in India.

Currently the arithmetic favours Indian exports to USA, and the delegation could achieve some reverse volumes partly through the export of particular varieties with low sugar and high solids. It also plans to post a representative here, to boost demand for various potato products, and to help farmers with seed programmes, and food processors with technology.

The NPPB is an organisation of potato farmers formed in 1972 to reverse the trend of declining consumption in the US. It led research and generated and publicised evidence on the nutritional value of the potato, and countered the impression that potatoes are fattening.

By Navroz Havewala