Cheap Potato Varieties to Boost Food security

Published on 24th February 2009

Potato farmers in ECA countries now have access to relatively cheap sources of potato varieties and seed potato fostering farm family livelihoods in the region. Through collaborative research approaches in the region, the Program for Improvement Potato and Sweetpotato along with other stakeholders developed and released 18 officially registered varieties. Only a few however, are currently available to farmers.

 

These include Victoria, Rutuku, Cruza, Sangema, Nakpot 10, Kabale and Tigoni. The varieties yield well between 7-15.4 M t per hectare, are moderately resistant to bacterial wilt and late blight disease of potato, versatile across environments and have attributes that enhance food and income securities. The improved varieties can ensure a US$ 600 per ton compared to US$ 160 per ton with traditional varieties.

 

Over 100 diverse partners have participated in the dissemination of these varieties. Farmer participatory research approaches, farmer field schools, demonstrations, field days and visits, trainings, packages including manuals, posters, proceedings and journals and the mass media were used in dissemination.

 

Outscaling was done through stakeholder participatory methodologies. Small-scale farmers, seed producers and food processing firms are the primary end-users of this technology. The varieties are being grown in the region in areas including Mwaro, Muramvya, and Bujumburarural provinces in Burundi; Bandundu, Kahemba and Feshi districts and Bas-Congo, Kasai orientale and Kasai occidentale provinces in D.R. Congo; Wolemera, Degem, Grar Jarso, Jeldu, Dendi and Ada Berga districts in Ethiopia; Kiambu, Thika, Nyandarua, South Kinangop, Nyeri, Meru central, Nakuru, Bomet, Uasin gishu, Keiyo, Marakwet and Laikipia districts in Kenya; Vakinanaratra district in Madagascar; Ruhengeri, Gisenyi, Byumba, Gikingoro, and Kibuye areas in Rwanda; Njombe, Makete, Iringa and Mbeya districts in Tanzania; and Kabale, kisoro, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Mbarara, Mbale, Sironko, Mubende, Nebbi, Kabarole and Kapchorwa districts in Uganda.

 

Adoption of the technology is limited despite the widespread distribution in the region due mainly, to  lack of awareness on the availability of these varieties. Serious uptake is concentrated around areas with research stations owing to the influence of Technology Transfer Projects and Farmer Field Schools conducted by the NARS in these areas.

 

Tigoni, Victoria, Rutuku and Cruza are the most widely adopted varieties among the farming communities because of their high yield and taste preference by farmers when prepared. Great potential also exist for value addition into processed chips, hence boosting farm enterprise incomes. There is need for a wider scope and active involvement of stakeholder participation and commitment to ensure uptake as well as an emphasis on awareness creation on where these varieties can be accessed. Also, farmers need to be trained on good production and management practices in order to reap dividends from the technology.

 

For further information about this technology please contact

 

Kabale Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute (KAZARDI) – Kachwekano.

Email: wwagoire@infocom.co.ug or

the National Agricultural Research Laboratories Centre Nairobi.

Email: z.kinyua@scientist.com

Project Title: Regional Potato Varieties [for East and Central Africa]


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