Africa, Breeding, Equipment/Technology, Seed

Tissue culture tech boosts Kenya’s potato yields

A community project that provides farmers with healthy potato seeds, cultivated using innovative laboratory techniques is significantly increasing yields in Kenya, an agricultural expert says.

As Maina Waruru reports for SciDev.net, Kenya’s average potato yield per hectare is around ten tonnes but has the potential to increase to three times that amount with the use of disease-free seed, according to Anthony Kibe, principal investigator of a potato community action research project led by Uganda-based Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture.

The forum’s project in Kenya — one of 11 across Africa — has benefitted about 5,000 smallholders since starting in 2017. It gives farmers access to quality, seeds through a process called tissue culture — the cultivation of plant tissues or organs on specially formulated nutrient solution in a laboratory or controlled environment.

“Tissue culture offers an excellent technique for the rapid propagation of seed potato, offering high yielding disease-free planting materials,” says Kibe. Tissue culture produces plantlets also known as apical root cuttings, and mini tubers which are clean and free of disease, Kibe explains.

Source: SciDev.net. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Christine Bukania / CIP-SSACC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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