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Small Potatoes' Struggle History


 - Documentary of the Development of Keshan County's Potato Industry
This is a hard-won rising curve: in 2018, Keshan County saw an average yield of potatoes of 3.5 tons per mu and the highest per unit yield of up to 5.74 tons per mu, exceeding the highest historical record of 5 tons per mu in terms of per unit yield of potatoes in Heilongjiang Province, which is amazing data. However, by going through the course of Keshan "Potato" has "Gone Through", it is not hard to find that the wave of the modern agricultural reform has been fully reflected by such little potatoes.
As early as 1934, the National Potato Improvement Center and Keshan Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Asia's largest gene bank, settled in Keshan County, where the “Ke” series varieties researched, developed and cultivated accounted for over one-third of the nationwide application area. In 2010, Keshan County was named “Hometown of Chinese Seed Potatoes”.
In order to increase research and development efforts, Keshan County, depending on the strong advantages of Asia's largest potato gene bank and Keshan Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, with Xingjia Potato Industry as the main body, has integrated technology, equipment, bases, brands and market resources, including Heilongjiang Longke Seed Industry and Renfa Agricultural Machinery Cooperative, improving the quality of seed potatoes. In view of the processing needs of whole flour and French fries and different growing needs in different areas, Keshan County has established a directive breeding system adapted to different regions and different needs and the largest potato breeding base in Northeast China.
Since Keshan County successfully developed an early-maturing high-starch variety Kexin No. 24, it has cultivated mid-late maturing fresh and fried varieties Kexin 26 and Kexin 27, which are in short supply on the market. At the same time, Keshan County has vigorously introduces 5 Dutch special potato varieties characterized by high quality, high dry matter and high starch content, with the dry matter content ranging from 25% to 28%, higher than domestic varieties by 5% on average, increasing the ratio of raw materials to product output from 6:1 to 4:1, greatly reducing processing costs.
The reason for the high yield of potatoes in Keshan County is not only due to good research and development. The most important thing is that Keshan County has implemented a technology-based guarantee project and the land involved in the guarantee can realize yield increase of 50% per mu on average. At the same time, Keshan County has brought in international planting technology, and full implemented the Dutch good agricultural GAP cultivation mode, with focus placed on popularizing such key technologies as fore crop rotation, autumn land preparation, whole potato sowing, power-based cultivation and combined harvesting. In 2017, the Eugene variety grown using this mode reached a per-unit yield of up to 3.5 tons per mu.
The output has increased and the quality has improved, but how to change "Growing Well" to "Selling Well"? Marketing is a key link of making the potato industry bigger and stronger. Keshan County has given top priority to market sales in the development of the potato industry. Coupled with the characteristics of the potato industry, taking advantage of state-level exhibitions and various provincial and municipal-level exhibitions like Harbin Trade Fair and Shanghai Spring Joint Exhibition of Agricultural Products, Keshan County has tried to recommend products in an extensive manner and promote contracted sales.
Currently, Keshan County has successfully opened up international markets in Russia, North Korea and Indonesia for "Keshan Potato" and signed a "Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement for a Potato as Staple Food Project" with Shanghai to determine Keshan as Shanghai's only potato extension base. At the same time, Keshan County has established an agricultural product company jointly with 10 potato as staple food enterprises in Shanghai to jointly develop raw materials for staple food processing like selenium-enriched potatoes and color potato granules, becoming a leader in national potato as staple food projects.
To increase the capacity of deep processing and transformation of potatoes, Keshan County has implemented a leader-driven strategy by firmly grasping the "Ox Nose" of introducing and cultivating deep processing enterprises. Aiming at high-tech and high-end markets at home and abroad, Keshan County has attracted the settlement of large domestic and foreign investors in Keshan by means of inner guidance and outreach as well as superior resources and excellent services, solving the problems of low processing level of enterprises, weak driving ability and “Large Quantity but Short Chain” of products.
Through unremitting efforts, Keshan County has attracted Hebei Xuechuan Group, which has constructed a potato-related whole industry project in cooperation with Keshan Fumin Co., Ltd. It is a fresh-cut potato project involving the planned production of nearly 100 single varieties of 20 kinds of products of 5 categories, i.e. potato cubes, slices, chips, shredded potato and mashed potato, complete with fresh, semi-cooked, cooked, fried and frozen product series, with constant temperature and cold chain logistics adopted for all of them. This project is one of the key construction projects in Heilongjiang Province's “13th Five-Year Plan” and China's first large-scale potato-based fresh food processing enterprise, involving a total investment amount of up to 566 million Yuan and planned annual processing capacity of 300,000 ton potatoes and estimated output value of 1.2 billion Yuan, profit of 150 million Yuan and taxes of 50 million Yuan.
Over the years, the small potatoes have strengthened the economy of Keshan County, promoted the integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary industries and become a pillar industry for making people wealthy and the county prosperous and a booster for poverty alleviation. Facing the future, Keshan County will create a potato industry chain in an all-round manner, bring in high-end projects involving potato processing as staple food, industrial modified starch processing and living nutrient processing by keeping a firm grasp on the "Potato Head Food Tail", form a leading potato processing enterprise group and create a world-class potato industry research and development base.

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