About the Potato Atlas Archives...
The first World Potato Atlas was developed at the International Potato Center (Centro Internacional de la Papa, or CIP) in the 1980s and maintained for several years -- primarily by Robert Rhoades, Robert Hijmans, and Luisa Huaccho -- to provide country-specific information about potato production, constraints, and uses.  A newer version of the atlas, providing updated and more detailed information of a limited selection of countries, was initiated in 2006.  
The "atlas archives" included here are based on chapters of the original effort which so far have not been substantially updated.  Although some of this information is clearly obsolete, some remains relevant, at least for historical background.


The potato was introduced by the Dutch to West Java around 1794 (Tatik, 1983).  By 1811, the crop was found on other Indonesian islands such as Sumatra where the Batak on the high Kar plateau were said to be excellent potato growers (Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indie, 1917: 1). Crawford wrote in 1820, only 30 years after the first introduction, that the Javanese called the potato Kantang Holanda ("Dutch tubers"). He considered the Javanese potato of good size and excellent quality with a taste better than those of Europe and much superior to the potato of India. He noted that they grow well without fertilizer at every season of the year, so that the care of storing them is unnecessary, and the fresh tuber is ready for the table at every season. He further noted that the British occupation greatly increased the demand for potatoes, which further encouraged it to became part of the Javanese diet in the mountains and hills. However, due to the constraining factor of a warm climate throughout most of Indonesia, the potato never became a food of general consumption compared to the yam, arum, and sweetpotato.
Throughout the rest of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, little published information is available on the crop (Ochse, 1931). The area increased steadily to the over 67,000 hectares in 1995-97. Yields per hectare have also increased from around six tons per hectare in the early 1970s to 11.5 tons per hectare in 1985.   Java accounts for some 65 percent of national production.  About ten percent is produced on Sumatra while the rest occurs mainly in South Sulawesi. The potato, along with cabbage and tomato, is an important cash crop in certain highland areas.


Potatoes are planted in over 65 municipalities, located primarily in Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and Nusa Tengara. Minor scattered areas are found also on Maluko and Irian Jaya. Throughout the islands, potato is grown in the highlands between 800 and 1,800 meters above sea level (masl). In a few areas, they are produced at elevations around 2,000 masl if deep volcanic soils are available. In many highland areas potatoes compete with forestry, and land temporarily cleared of trees is sometimes cultivated with potatoes and other vegetables.
Normally the crop is produced in andosol and regosol soils with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 where average daily temperature range from 15° C to 22° C. and night temperatures fluctuate between 11° C and 17° C.  Rainfall is between 200-300 mm per month with relative humidity of 80-95 percent (Tatik, 1983). On Java, potatoes are mainly grown in the Preanger, near Malang and in the Tengger Mountains.  The main Javanese production centers are Pengalengan, Lembang, and Cipanas. On Sumatra potatoes are mainly grown on the Karo Plateau, in the Padang Uplands, and in the highlands of Tapanoeli and Benkoelen. The main Sumatran production center is Brastagi (Rijanto, 1973; Tatik, 1983).


Cropping Calendar
The two general production seasons are a rainy season crop from September until December, and a dry season crop from April until July.  However, due to the tropical climate, continuous production is possible throughout the year.  Planting dates vary according to zone and role in the cropping system.  At Chipanas, West Java, potatoes are planted in March and harvested in June, while in Lembang at higher elevations planting is in April and October with harvests in early August and February (Suradikusumah, 1978; CIP, 1981).
Cultivation Practices
Potatoes are mainly grown by small-scale farmers for sale and home consumption on highland (above 800 masl) non-irrigated fields, although some production occurs on irrigated land.  Potatoes are produced on hillsides without intensive terracing, except in North Sumatra where they are planted on small terraces. Traditional low cost systems of production are used with the exception of sprayers for pest and disease control.
Potatoes are planted primarily as a monocrop with relay and multiple cropping.  Rotations found in irrigated areas are: rice-potato - cabbage; rice -potato - maize; cabbage - potato - cabbage.  Rotations found in non-irrigated areas are: potato -cabbage - maize;  potato - maize - fallow (Tatik, 1983).  On irrigated land, cabbage and potatoes are frequently rotated with a maximum of two crops of each per year (Anonymous, 1981).
Seed bed preparation is done three to four weeks before planting. Often seed bed soils are prepared two or three times with a hoeing system. Planting is executed by both men and women. Distance between rows is typically 60 to 70 centimeters (cm), while distance between plants in the row is 20-30 cm. Furrowing and ridging is done by men while women apply fertilizer and plant the seed.  Seeds are usually placed first,  followed by fertilizer and manure placement around the seed (Wattimena, 1974). Potatoes are harvested 110-120 days after planting by spading the ridges and collecting the potatoes by hand. Selecting and grading is done immediately after harvest (Suradikusumah, 1978).
Disease and Pest Constraints
A wide variety of potato diseases and pests are found in Indonesia (Duriat 1986), although little information is available to estimate economic or production losses.
Important disease constraints include (Rizui and Muis 1984; Rijanto 1973):

  • Late blight (Phytophthora infestans);
  • Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum);
  • Fusarium dry rot and wilt (Fusarium spp.);
  • Viral infections, especially PVY;
  • Common scab (Streptomyces scabies);
  • Others: early blight, pink rot, fusarium dry rot and wilt, stem canker and black scurf..

Pests include potato tuber moth, aphids, and mites. 


Varieties have constantly changed over the years. In some areas, the original names of the older varieties are no longer known. Called "local potato," their appearance is of old European varieties (light creamy skin, yellow flesh and round oval shape). 
Prior to 1945, the main varieties were:

  • Eigenheimer,
  • Bevelander,
  • Voran
  • Profijt,
  • Marita,
  • Pimpernel,
  • Bintje.

By 1969, the primary varieties were:

  • Desiree,
  • Donata,
  • Cosima,
  • Radosa,
  • Patrones,
  • Rapan,
  • Thung,
  • Katella,
  • Raphan,
  • Aquila.

By the 1980s, the most common varieties were:

  • Granola,
  • Cosima,
  • Patrones,
  • Katella,
  • Cipanas,
  • Spunta.

Seed Systems

Seed is the major cost of potato production in Indonesia. At least 30,000 tons of seed are needed each year. Since small farmers cultivating less than 0.5 hectare often have limited access to capital, they will tend to keep their own seed tubers, which are small in size and produce low yields. However, in a few areas farmers have kept their own seed over more than ten multiplications, sometimes up to twenty years and can still achieve multiplication rates of 10:1.  (Marvel, 1979-81). Many farmers will buy new seed if possible when the yield to seed ratio drops below 7:1 (Wattimena, 1977).
Seed potatoes are imported from the Netherlands, Australia and small quantities from several other countries. In 1979, 165 tons were imported while in 1983 only about 80 tons were imported (Anonymous, 1981; Sadikin, 1983). Imported seed is used to produce seed for up to three generations when serious viral degeneration sets in. The Food Crop Research Institute in West and East Java also supplies seed to farmers, but mainly farmers use their own seed (Tatik, 1983).
Apart from a certification scheme developed in North Sumatra, no attempts have been made to control seed production and distribution. Seed importers typically supply seed to selected traders and to seed merchants or merchant/seed growers in the villages.  Some imported seed is sold to farmers who specialize in seed production or merchant/seed growers in the villages. Some interchange of seed takes place between farmers, especially those located in different elevations (Anonymous, 1981).  Seed production tends to be concentrated in the hands of larger growers who have more access to capital and good storage facilities (Anonymous, 1981). 


Annual per capita potato consumption in Indonesia is small, only around 1.35 kg., although great regional variation takes place. (Please note: As of estimates for the year 2003 provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), per capita consumption had increased to about 4.6 kilograms.)  In Java, for example, annual per capita consumption can range between 0 and 50 kg depending on whether or not a person lives in a potato-producing area, as well as socioeconomic status and ethnic background. Rice remains the basic staple for most people, supplemented by varying amounts of maize, cassava, sago and sweetpotato. Potato is an expensive vegetable consumed only on special occasions (Poats, 1983).
Potato is prepared in many different ways, but its role in the meal is always that of a complementary vegetable. Potatoes are prepared by frying, boiling or steaming or are consumed roasted or mixed through the Sayoor. Raw tubers peeled and cut into slices or pieces are relished as lalab with rice or as petis (fried with sambal moontjang, sund.) (Poats, 1983).
Little information is available on storage of either ware or seed potato in Indonesia. Rijanto (1973) notes that farmers store both seed and ware potatoes in bulk on wooden planking, but with little ventilation. Storage periods are fairly short and losses are high. Storage experiments have been conducted at the Food Crop Research Institute, Lembang, West Java and the following groups of organism were found to attack stored tubers: Phytophtora spp.;
Phythium utimum; Fusarium spp.; dry rot and Phoma spp. gangrene; Oospora pustulans;
Helminthosporium solani (Sinaga, 1981).
There is very little potato processing, aside from small-scale household processors located near production centers where hotels and restaurants cater largely to expatriates and tourists. Upper and middle class people in Indonesia have a greater demand for processed potato products in fast food meals. Small quantities of potato chips are produced by home industries. A product called dange (Sund) is sometimes made by peeling and slicing potatoes which are half- cooked and steeped for one or two days in fresh water. Soaked slices are air-dried and left to ferment between banana leaves for two or three days.  Dange is ready as soon as the slices have become soft, and are used in dishes such as sambal goreng or pais. 
The marketing of potatoes is handled similarly to other vegetables, although potatoes can be stored slightly longer due to lower perishability.  The most important marketing chain is grower-rural wholesaler-main urban wholesaler-secondary urban wholesaler (minor markets) - retailer consumer.  Marketing agents at all levels provide transport or assemble produce, grade tubers, and provide finance.  There is strong competition between merchants and in Pasar Induk, the main Jakarta market, nearly 100 potato merchants are found. A disproportionate volume of Indonesia's potatoes are consumed in Jakarta where income levels are higher (Anonymous, 1981).
Although a small portion of the annual production is exported to Singapore and Malaysia, most Indonesian potatoes are consumed domestically.


Anonymous. 1981. Economic Report on Seed Potato Project. (ATA)-242). Preliminary Draft. CIP. 1981. Potatoes in Southeast Asia. Country People. Indonesia. Typescript. 4pp.

Crawford, John. 1820. History of the Indian Archipelago. 3 Vols. Edinburgh.
Duriat, A.S. 1986. Status of Potato Virus Diseases in Indonesia. Paper presented at Workshop of Seed Potato Production. Baguio, Philippines. 16-20 June. Typescript. 11 pp.

Encyclopaedie Van Nederlandsch-Indie. 1917-22. Second edition. 4 Vols. Leiden.
French, E.R. 1975. Most Noteworthy Facts about Potato Diseases noted in Asia. Typescript. December. 2 pp.
Hikmat, S. 1976. Report on Potato Production in Indonesia. International Course of Potato Production. IAC. Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Laufer, Berthold. 1938. The American Plant Migration. Field Museum of Natural History. Chicago.
Marvel, Mason E. 1979- 1981. Trip Report. North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Padang, West Sumatra.
Ochse, J.J. ND. 1931. Vegetables of the Dutch East Indies. Java, Archipel Drukkerij.
Poats, Susan. 1981. Indonesia. Case Study. Project Report Number 1. May- July. 10 pp. Typescript.
Rijanto, G. 1973. Report from Indonesia. Second International Course of Potato Production. IAC. Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Rizvi, S.A. and Amaran Muis. 1984. Diseases and Pests of Potato in South Sulawesi. Maros Research Institute for Food Crops. 7 pp.
Sadikin, S.W. The Potential for Potato Production in Southeast Asia. Typescript. 11 pp.
Sinaga, E.M. 1981. Storage loss of Potato tubers in West Java. Paper presented in the Second Philippines/CIP Regional Potato Storage Course. Feb. 10. Baguio City, Philippines.
Suradikusumah, E. 1978. Report on Potato Production in Indonesia. International Potato Course. IAC, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Tatik. 1983. Answer to Questionnaire of the International Reference Book of Potato Production by Countries. 4 pp.
Wattimena, G.A. 1974. Report on Potato Production in Indonesia. International Course of Potato Production. IAC. Wageningen, Netherlands.

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