Potato, an ancient vegetable but not much is known about its early domestication, is a common ingredient in the global diet. Potato domestication commenced from South America and later the production was spread around the world through man’s vigorous efforts. Its adequate nutrient proportion plays a huge role in assuring potato’s spot as a valuable Dietary staple.
Potatoes contain a variety of nutrients like carbohydrates, starch thus categorized as “Starchy vegetable”. They also contribute potassium, Vitamin C, and fibers to our diet. The resistant starch present in potato positively affect blood lipid and increases good bacteria in the human body. Studies have discovered Potatoes’ beneficial impact on human health including lowering blood pressure, maintaining body composition, and thus regulating cardiometabolic activity. However, there are no promising benefits of potatoes for weight management.
Potatoes are cultivated widely in Pakistan and owing to its compliant nature, it goes along with every other vegetable in a desi household. No wonder why it is the 4th most consumed crop in the world. Around 170,300 hectares is being utilized for potato domestication in Pakistan however cultivation is chiefly concentrated in Punjab covering the areas of Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur, Sialkot, and Jhung. Punjab, the leading producer of potato crop, contributes almost 88.3 percent to the overall production followed by KPK, Baluchistan, and Sindh adding the remaining share by 7.2, 4.2%, and 0.3% percent respectively.
Potato’s refusal to be affected by harsh weather conditions make it a favorable crop to grow in mountain region even the poor soil quality is unable to impede its growth. However, a disease infected seed tuber can adversely affect potato cultivation. Pakistan is self-reliant in potato cultivation for domestic consumption. Estimations state that roughly around 2.02 million metric tons of potatoes production out of which only 1.7 million metric tons are available for food consumption. Despite the low labor requirement and easy cultivation, Potato production in Pakistan isn’t as promising as our neighboring countries. Limited use of land, extreme weather conditions, lack of quality seeds, and less availability of water are huge factors leading to the low yield of potatoes.
With the massive consumption of potatoes as chips, fries, and potato powder on daily basis, its waste is also excessive predominantly consisting of potato peels. Potato skin is rich in iron and dietary fiber and aid in strengthening the immune system and regulating blood pressure. The organic nutrients in the skin like phenolic and polyphenolic compounds with anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties are beneficial for health. Regardless of endless benefits, potato skins mostly contribute to solid waste or a small part of it is used as low-quality animal food.