A first pilot using True Potato Seed (TPS) in Angonia District, Tete province in Mozambique, conducted by Solidaridad and Solynta shows great potential to drastically improve and innovate potato production in Mozambique. The potato crop is increasingly important for nutrition security and farmer livelihoods in Mozambique and many countries in Africa.
Between August 2019 and April 2020 Solidaridad Mozambique and Solynta executed the first hybrid TPS field trial ever in Mozambique: growing potatoes from true seeds rather than traditional seed potatoes. The seedlings were raised in trays for 6 weeks, after which they were transplanted to farmers’ fields.
Solynta provided several hybrid seed varieties to assess adaptability as well as technical advice. Solidaridad Mozambique trained and supported farmers in applying good farming practices, including soil management, fertilizing and crop protection. Several local institutions, such as Universidade Unizambezi, supported this initiative.
Mandla Nkomo, Managing Director of Solidaridad Southern Africa said “the results are very encouraging: average yields of the 3 varieties ranged from 8.5 MT/ha to as much as 25.9 MT/ha in comparison to the yields of 8MT/ha of local control varieties.”
Solynta’s innovation of hybrid potatoes makes it possible to distribute new varieties from botanic seed instead of seed potatoes. This technology makes it possible to rapidly develop new potato varieties with a higher nutritional value and attuned to specific local or regional needs, for example resistance to drought and certain diseases.
Moreover, true potato seeds (TPS) have major logistical benefits as 25 grams of true seed is comparable to 2,500 kg of seed tubers. True seed is easier to store and cheaper to transport, making it easier to access for smallholder families in remote areas. True potato seed (TPS) is also disease free which is not the case with traditional seed potatoes.
Source: Solidaridad. Read the full report here.