Africa

More woes for Kenian farmers as potato crop attacked by blight disease

Potato farmers in the North Rift in Kenya are staring at heavy losses following the ongoing heavy rains. The crops had been attacked by blight, which has been made worse by the rains. Peter Muga from Kanjo area in Mau Narok is among farmers counting losses after the crop was attacked by the fungal disease. He is using chemicals he bought to contain the disease. He is worried because potato farming is his main economic activity. He sprays the crop weekly at a cost of between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000.

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CIP mapping potato diseases in Africa: Bacterial wilt present in 73% ware potato farms and 50% seed potato farms in Uganda

Bacterial wilt is widespread in Uganda, limiting yields and degrading seed quality. But little is known about the extent of the disease. CIP conducted a nationwide survey to chart the prevalence and spread of bacterial wilt in Uganda, as well as the type of pathogens present. Bacterial wilt was found to be present in 73% of ware potato farms and 50% of seed potato farms.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers.

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GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

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CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

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Input suppliers, govt and industry stakeholders collaborate to boost yields of potato farmers in Kenya

In Kenya, potatoes are a key staple food, second only to maize. Yet its potato value chain has been underdeveloped for decades. This has been acknowledged by the Kenyan government. Over the past years, it has been investing in the potato sector in order to realize an increase of output per hectare and a growth in potato smallholders’ income. Last[Read More…]

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CIP: Promoting nutrition-sensitive potato value chains in Kenya

Potato has underexploited potential to contribute to food security and incomes among Kenyan smallholders. This project builds on the past work of the International Potato Center (CIP) to increase the current low levels of productivity. It focuses on building the skills of farmers and other stakeholders to apply good agricultural practices and increase the availability of quality planting materials. The[Read More…]

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'Quikgro': Potato varieties suited to sub-Saharan conditions

Potato is a key food and cash crop contributing both to food security and the local economy in Kenya, Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists from the James Hutton Institute in collaboration with the University of St Andrews in the UK are supporting an innovative research project aiming to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions[Read More…]

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Potatoes South Africa and partners sign agreement to address challenges faced by 'new era' farmers

AFGRI Agri Services, Kagiso Trust (through the Tyala Impact Fund) andPotatoes South Africa this week signed a ground-breaking agreement aimed at addressing the major challenges faced by South Africa’s ‘new era’ farmers, according to a press release issued by Potatoes South Africa and partners. Some of these challenges include access to technical support, access to finance and access to markets.[Read More…]

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CIP: Developing late blight resistant GMO potato varieties for Africa

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working in East Africa to breed GMO varieties of potatoes that combine three forms of resistance to late blight — the disease that can exact costly tolls on smallholding farmers. CIP states that the objective of the project is: “To develop and deliver bio-engineered potatoes completely resistant to late blight to reduce the costs[Read More…]

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PepsiCo Egypt and USAID initiative garners increase in potato harvest

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings,” said Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese philosopher and farmer. For Egyptian potato farmers, this could not be any more true. For the past year, PepsiCo Egypt has been working to empower Egyptian farmers by supporting them through training programs aimed at providing[Read More…]

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South African potato industry to have greater access to Mondial variety

South Africa’s potato production industry is set to gain from a settlement agreement approved recently by the Competition Tribunal (CompTrib), according to a report published by Farmers Weekly. This agreement, between Netherlands-based seed potato breeder, HZPC Holland (HZPC) and previous exclusive South African distributor of the company’s popular Mondial variety, Wesgrow Potatoes (Wesgrow), will lead to greater competition on the[Read More…]

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South Africa: The long, hard road to profiting from potatoes

In 1998, at the age of 45, Frans Vlok left his job as head of Kynoch fertiliser services in the Western Cape in South Africa to pursue his lifelong dream of farming full-time. He was joined in the business eight years later by his daughter, Monique Vlok, who told Glenneis Kriel of their struggle to succeed. For as long as[Read More…]

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PepsiCo boosts Ethiopia’s snack market with majority stake acquisition in local crisps producer

The Frito-Lay and Walkers Crisps maker has acquired a majority shareholding of Senselet Food Processing, an Ethiopian potato crisps company founded by Veris Investments in 2015. Veris claims Senselet has a leading market position in Ethiopia with its Sun Chips brand, which uses locally-sourced potatoes. The Netherlands-based private equity firm says it set up Senselet to contribute to the development[Read More…]

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Earliest roasted root vegetables, similar to modern potatoes, found in 170,000-year-old cave dirt

Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real â€œpaleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes. “I think people were eating a very balanced diet, a combination of carbohydrates and proteins,” says team leader Lyn Wadley of the University of[Read More…]

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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[Read More…]

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World Potato Congress Inc. announces new international advisor in Kenya

The World Potato Congress has announced that Mr. Wachira Kaguongo has accepted to become the World Potato Congress Inc.’s (WPC) newest International Advisor. Mr. Kaguongo is an agricultural economist currently working with the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK). He joined NPCK in 2011 and has been involved in its establishment, operationalization, strategy development and resource mobilization. Over the last[Read More…]

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Australian potatoes explore Egypt

A trade delegation including Western Australian (WA) potato industry leaders toured Egypt in November, confirming the potential to export at least 10,000 tonnes of seed potatoes.  The delegation focused on connecting with commercial operators at all levels of the Egyptian supply chain involved in potato crisp processing. This visit followed a 2017 visit, which identified the market as having significant[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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