Sources: FAOSTAT data, 2014 (last accessed by Top 5 of Anything: January 2014).
List Notes: Potato production is in metric tonnes (m/t) for the year 2011 (latest year for which statistics are available as of January 2014). This top 5 list may include official, semi-official or estimated data gathered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
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The world potato sector is undergoing major changes. Until the early 1990s, most potatoes were grown and consumed in Europe, North America and countries of the former Soviet Union. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in potato production and demand in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where output rose from less than 30 million tonnes in the early 1960s to more than 165 million tonnes in 2007. FAO data show that in 2005, for the first time, the developing world's potato production exceeded that of the developed world. China is now the biggest potato producer, and almost a third of all potatoes is harvested in China and India.
Asia and Europe are the world's major potato producing regions, accounting for more than 80 percent of world production in 2007. While harvests in Africa and Latin America were far smaller, production was at or near record levels. North America was the clear leader in yields, at more than 40 tonnes per hectare.
Asia consumes almost half of the world's potato supply, but its huge population means that consumption per person was a modest 24 kg in 2005. The heartiest potato eaters are Europeans. Per capita consumption is lowest, but increasing, in Africa and Latin America.
Although the potato was grown in South America for millennia, the first potato patch in North America was only planted in 1719, in New Hampshire (the first french fries were served at the White House during the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson some 80 years later).
India produces nearly 8% of the total global potato production, which is forecasted to be at about 350 million tonnes for the year 2010. This year there has been a significant increase in production in most of the major potato producing countries like China, India, United States, and Europe. Potatoes are grown in about 155 countries around the world and more than a billion people worldwide eat potatoes.
Top 5 facts sources: Potato World (http://www.potato2008.org/), Commodity Online report: "India potato price seen falling, supplies to rise 20%". FAO.