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Quack seed multipliers threaten Rwanda's potato production

Irish potato farmers and professional seed multipliers are crying foul over some individuals locally known as ‘Abamamyi’ who masquerade as multipliers and distribute fake seeds which leads to low yield.

The problem is increasingly prevalent in Northern and Western provinces, a region where Irish potatoes are predominantly grown.

Most of Irish potato farmers who spoke to The New Times expressed a common concern of harvesting lower yield which they attribute to the poor quality seeds they grow.

“The produce which I get is not commensurate to investment I make, I only harvest to eat with no surplus produce for the market as I had envisaged,” noted Aloysie Kabahire from Kinigi Sector, Musanze District.

“I have fortunately learnt from agronomists that the lower produce is linked to the fake seeds that I grow and that’s why I would request the government to step in and hold accountable those who sell to us fake seeds,” she said.

Statistics from Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) indicate that so far, potato farmers harvest an average of 16 tonnes per hectare yet they should be harvesting above 30 tonnes and the problem is largely attributed to the use of ineffective seeds among other factors.

What is worrying, according to farmers and professional multipliers, is that the unscrupulous seed multipliers have won hearts of many farmers given that poor quality seeds they distribute are cheaper than the genuine ones.

Full report in The News Times here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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