Scientists in China have developed a way of making fertilizer from waste water discharged by potato processing plants, solving a pollution problem which has held back China’s potato ambitions. China sees potatoes as a new staple food to ensure food security, but protein-rich water discharged by starch processors, a major buyer of the spuds, has been blamed for polluting rivers and lakes…Full Article: Xinhua Feb 2016

Key Points

  • A researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou Onstitute of Chemical Physics, stated that potato water waste can be treated to halve its chemical oxygen demand (COD) through the removal of protein, starch, and fiber. The resultant water is high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) elements and can be used to irrigate crops.
  • Three potato starch processors are reportedly using the new waste water system.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In December 2015, China was exploring the possibility of classifying potatoes as a “staple grain”, a precursor for increased national cultivation. At the time, China reportedly produced 90 million MTs of potatoes annually on 5.33 million ha of land.
  • In March 2015, the Netherlands’ Farm Frites and Inner Mongolia’s Linkage Potato established a joint-venture in Wudan Town, Chifeng City, to produce French fries. The JV will reportedly consume 140,000 MTs of fresh potatoes and will begin supplying the Chinese market in 2017.
  • In January 2015, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, the country will expand its potato cultivation area from approximately 5 million ha to 10 million (unspecified timeframe).
  • In 2014, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, China produced 95 million MTs of potatoes on 5.6 million ha of land.
  • In 2013, according to FAOStat, China produced 88.9 million MTs of potatoes, 79 million MTs of sweet potatoes, 4.5 million MTs of cassava, and 1.8 million MTs of taro. Heilongjiang province produces approximately 8 million MTs of potatoes per year.

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