The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today concluded the distribution of 60 tonnes of high quality potato seed to two farmer cooperative unions as part of a European Union-funded project in Tajikistan. The AKIpress News Agency reports.
The activity helps building small producers’ capacity and improve their livelihoods in northern Shahristan and central Nurobod districts. FAO anticipates to deliver a total of 80 tonnes of elite potato seed to farmers, with an expected output of 1000 tonnes in the upcoming agricultural season.
Seed potato value chains in Tajikistan are experiencing multiple challenges, such as of poor quality, hampered import supply due to COVID-19, combined with increased seed demand ahead of the planting season. Also the availability of quality potato seed is limited and they usually come at a high price; in addition, access to pesticides, fertilizers and other inputs, prevent farmers from obtaining a higher return.
The cooperative unions that received Red Scarlet potato seed from the Netherlands, have over 120 farmers as members. As they promote potato seed banks, local farmers will have an opportunity to learn about innovative approaches for producing potato seeds and will be introduced to the GLOBAL GAP system – a voluntary food safety standard.
GLOBAL GAP is a voluntary food safety standard required by many supermarket chains in Europe. These standards are relevant to farmers as they cover the agricultural production process, from inputs to the farm gate.
Editor’s note: Potato is a widely grown crop in Tajikistan, most likely cultivated primarily at higher altitudes than areas dedicated to other principal crops, especially wheat and cotton. Tajikistan intends to increase annual production of potatoes to 1.5 million tons.