Africa, News April 2024, Seed, Sustainability, Varieties

Transforming Uganda’s potato value chain: A Kilimo Kisasa success story of sustainable production

Potatoes stand as one of the most nutritious crops globally and concurrently, represent a lucrative commodity for agriculturalists. In Uganda, potatoes are not only pivotal in bolstering food security as a staple crop but also play a significant role in elevating the economic well-being of farming households when these are sold to the processing sector for products like French fries and crisps.

In the realm of potato farming, most Ugandan cultivators have traditionally focused on local varieties such as Rwangume, Kinigi, and Victoria. Nevertheless, recent trends have seen a surge in demand for Dutch potato varieties. Characterized by their shallow eyes and smooth skin, these Dutch varieties are increasingly preferred by the processing industry.

This preference is reflected in the premium prices processors are willing to pay for these varieties, consequently driving up the demand among Ugandan potato farmers for the seeds of these sought-after Dutch potatoes. Historically, this necessitated the import of Dutch seed potatoes from either the Netherlands or Kenya, which culminated in exorbitant costs that were often unaffordable for local farmers.

Kilimo Kisasa: Revolutionizing Potato Farming in Uganda

Enter Kilimo Kisasa Limited, a transformative player in the agricultural sector of Uganda, particularly in Zombo district. This farm enterprise has emerged as a pivotal provider of seed potatoes, catering to the East African market.

Established with the primary objective of fulfilling the rising demand for high-quality, disease-free seed potatoes, Kilimo Kisasa distinguishes itself as the only enterprise in Uganda receiving mini-tubers of the Taurus and Sagitta varieties from HZPC Holland B.V.

Although the enterprise does engage in the multiplication of Rwangume seed potatoes, its principal focus is on popularizing the Taurus (renowned for its suitability in crisp production) and Sagitta (preferred for French fries) varieties among local farmers.

Significantly, the multiplication of these varieties within Uganda allows Kilimo Kisasa to offer Dutch potato varieties at almost half the price of their imported counterparts. This strategy not only reduces the financial strain on Ugandan farmers but also contributes to lower shipment emissions.

Collaborative Efforts Towards Sustainable Potato Cultivation

In a collaborative stride, Kilimo Kisasa, in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and other stakeholders, has embarked on an ambitious project to develop the value chain of Dutch potato varieties in Uganda.

This initiative is tailored to cater to the escalating demand from the processing industry. Through a comprehensive approach that includes training farmers in sustainable potato cultivation practices, instituting effective payment systems, and meticulously evaluating the experiences and feedback of the farmers, Kilimo Kisasa Limited and its partners are committed to enhancing the food security and income of farmer households through sustainable production practices.

This holistic and progressive approach marks a significant milestone in Uganda’s journey towards a more sustainable and prosperous agricultural future, with the humble potato at its heart.

Source: Kilimo Kisasa
Contact for further information:
Jua Dai Fleer
Cover image: Credit Kilimo Kisasa

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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