Modern Potato Progress in Rwanda

Andean (“Irish”) potatoes are an important food staple in parts of Rwanda. But lack of good seed has historically made local potato production shaky at best.
Modern techniques of multiplying disease-free seed potatoes radically increase yields and contributes to food and farm security . Many of these techniques are in alignment with organic production practices as we demonstrate by growing our organic Certified Seed Potatoes on Wood Prairie Family Farm (www.woodprairie.organic).
Note in the photo the aphid-excluding netting which envelopes the 0.6-acre (quarter-hectare) disease-free ‘minituber’ production facility. Aphids are the primary vector which transmits yield-killing potato virus.
The Rwanda seed potato project is pioneering and has proven successful but is not without challenges – such as participating farmers challenged to self-finance their succeeding seed potato crop since it takes them 8 months to get paid for the previous crop. Jim & Megan

“His greenhouse has capacity to generate some 60,000 potato minitubers which are grown on over one-hectare [2.47 acres] land to produce over 12 tonnes [26,400 pounds] of seeds given to farmers for cultivation to get Irish potatoes for consumption…

“But, Nzabarinda pointed out that seed production and multiplication cycle takes about 40 months (three years) to yield…

“He told The New Times that besides producing for the market, Irish potato constitutes the main ingredient in the region (Musanze) residents’ daily diet…

“‘Farmers have been importing seeds from neighbouring countries, but such seeds turned out to be diseased and therefore made farmers encounter losses. The seeds produced from greenhouses are free from disease because they are under a controlled environment and protected against extraneous pathogenic agents,’ he said…

“In January, 2017, the head of RAB’s Northern Province Zone, Jean Claude Izamuhaye, had told The New Times that the production capacity of the Musanze-based potato laboratory was increased tenfold from 80,000 plantlets to 800,000 per season, which will generate about 21,510 tonnes of Irish potato seeds to be distributed to farmers.

“He added that in September 2017, certified seeds to farmers are projected to reach 25 percent, while they are expected to be 75 percent by 2020.”

http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/213679/