TOKYO -- Faced with having to stabilize the supply of potatoes for its chips, Japanese snack maker Calbee is increasing the amount of the crop it grows in rice fields. Paddy-field potatoes are mainly grown in Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, but Calbee also plans to start cultivating them in the northern regions of Hokkaido and Tohoku.
Potatoes are traditionally grown in dry-soil fields, but the company will now grow more of the crop in better-drained rice fields with higher ridges. Crop yields per area will remain unchanged, despite both rice and potatoes being grown in the same place.
Currently, Calbee harvests less than 10,000 tons of paddy-field potatoes a year, but the company aims to double that amount by 2020 by increasing the number of locations where they are grown. The company plans to boost output of domestic potatoes for chips by 10% to 320,000 tons by 2022 by introducing new, more productive breeds it has developed.