Sustainability

Environmentally conscious consumers can now find comfort in the fact that the potato is one of horticulture’s most sustainable crops, following new research findings from the United Kingdom’s Cranfield University.

“It looks like rice is out and spuds are in, with findings indicating that basmati rice production uses around 100 times more water to produce than British-grown potatoes,” said Ausveg spokesperson, Felicity Powell.

The research, headed by Cranfield University principal research fellow Dr Adrian Williams, found that Indian basmati rice rated higher on greenhouse gas emissions and water use than British white potatoes and Italian pasta.

This focus on international research and development (R&D) is featured in the October/November 2013 edition of top horticultural magazine, Potatoes Australia.

“Producing basmati rice consumes more ‘blue water’ than potatoes, which refers to water withdrawn from surface and ground resources and not returned in the short term,” said Ms Powell.

Italian pasta has around three times the potential impact on water use, compared with British-grown potatoes on a fresh weight basis.

The potato has also been found to be more nutritious than its carbohydrate competitors, proving a great source of potassium. Potatoes also contain no cholesterol – an advantage for people suffering from cardiovascular concerns.

“The UK potato industry is working to communicate the benefits of potatoes to its government and consumers, to ensure that the humble spud is kept on families’ dinner plates right across the British Isles,” said Ms Powell.

Potatoes Australia is funded by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) using the National Potato Levy and matched funds from the Federal Government.