Thailand is tripling the acreage planted to potatoes to 7,900 and developing the seed sector to reduce the need for imports as demand soars in the country.
Only 70,000 tons of the 120,000 consumed each year are locally grown for a market worth $8 million (baht) US$216 million a year.
Frito-Lay makes many chip snacks at its factory in Lumphun using potatoes supplied by 6,000 contract growers in the northern provinces.
The company is evaluating local production of seed potatoes and has opened a laboratory to develop varieties. Imported seed now comes from the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia. Scotland-based Gordon and Innes Ltd. Is the largest seed supplier.
Thai Agro Tech Services Co. is testing a number of varieties this year and plans to introduce Atlantic and Spunta.