By EA Trade Review Reporter
Thousands of potato farmers in East Africa are set to benefit from a fast-track potato seed strategy that seeks to increase potato yields by 20 per cent.
The initiative, spearheaded by International Potato Center (IPC), is geared to producing large numbers of minitubers through very rapid multiplication.
The third generation seed multiplication is part of a five year project by the International Potato Center dubbed “Seed Potato Value Chain Roadmap” targeting Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda that targets business investments to increase the availability of high-quality seed potatoes and promote improved seed management.
The method yields the same quantity of high-quality potato seed in three field generations as traditional methods deliver in seven generations.
This rapid multiplication means production costs are lower, and there is less chance of contamination of the seed by disease or pests.
In Transmara district of Rift Valley, a predominantly Maasai area, one woman has led the way in adopting the multiplication program.
Ms Christine Nashuru harvested and sold over 10.3 tons of seed potato last year worth about Sh380, 000 after attending seed multiplication training that brought together 57 seed multipliers from across the country.