Africa

Kenyan research station banking on high quality potato seed production and distribution

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) is banking on a high quality potato seed production and distribution deal with Syngenta Foundation to increase production five times to 10 million tons annually. The deal involves increasing high quality certified potato seed availability to farmers by 25 percent through rapid multiplication, increased field seed bulking, and capacity building of commercial seed growers in the country.

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Africa Potato Association to hold 12th Triennial Conference in Malawi

The Africa Potato Association (APA) has announced that its 12th triennial conference will take place from June 27 to July 1, 2022 in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. The conference theme will be ‘Harnessing potato and sweet potato innovations for resilient and healthier agri-food systems’. Conference subthemes include breeding and genetic innovations for increased resilience, production and nutrition, innovative approaches for building sustainable seed systems and more.

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‘G+ Tools’: A new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding

In response to the challenges of climate change, growing demands for food, and persistent malnutrition, crop breeders across the Global South are developing more resilient, productive and nutritious potato varieties. The G+ Tools – a new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding developed by the International Potato Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas – promises to address this barrier by advancing a holistic framework to evaluate what traits men and women, farmers and consumers want in their potato, sweetpotato, cassava, and other crop varieties.

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A blight-resistant gmo potato variety help farmers in Uganda to defeat late blight and change their fortunes

Successful innovation for agriculture will depend on thorough and careful understanding of the aspirations of beneficiaries and the challenges farmers face. It entails putting them at the center of these innovations, according to this blog post by the International Potato Center (CIP). As part of its work to research solutions addressing hunger and poverty, CIP and partners worked in Uganda to develop and test a new type of blight-resistant potato, which may not need any fungicides.

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The ‘tricot’ approach: How African farmers participate in potato variety selection and dissemination

The “triadic comparisons of technologies” – or tricot – approach is being used in a citizen-science project funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) to identify and scale up best potato and cassava varieties in Rwanda. Farmers are trained to conduct a trial with potato seed and then, at the end of the season, they are asked which variety they consider ‘best’ or ‘worst’ on several characteristics including yield, marketability, plant vigor and more.

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Expiration of anti-dumping tariffs on fries leaves South African potato industry vulnerable

Anti-dumping tariffs on frozen French fries imported from the Netherlands and Germany have expired, leaving the South African potato industry vulnerable to ‘dumping’. Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes South Africa (Potatoes SA), said “The previous protection mechanism [proved] to be effective in ensuring the sustainability [of the local industry], and there is more than significant case law to suggest it to be necessary.”

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How to fertilise a potato crop: An African experience

Potato yields are highly-dependent on fertilizer use, but pinpointing the amount of fertilizer to be used can be a challenge, especially for smallholder farmers in Africa. This challenge is important in Rwanda where average potato yields are currently 8-10 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), compared to the 25-35 t/ha they might expect with improved potato varieties, better pest and disease management, and enhanced extension services and fertilizer use. 

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World Potato Congress appoints CEO of Potatoes South Africa as International Advisor

The World Potato Congress Inc.’s (WPC) Board of Directors announced this week the appointment of Willie Jacobs as its newest International Advisor from South Africa. Mr Jacobs is serving as CEO of Potatoes South Africa. Romain Cools, President & CEO of World Potato Congress Inc.: “We are very pleased to welcome Willie Jacobs to the World Potato Congress Inc.’s International Advisor group. Mr. Jacobs will be a great asset to WPC.”

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Lay’s is building community soccer fields out of recycled potato chip bags

As the next generation of young soccer whizzes in South Africa breathlessly out-dribble opponents and score mesmerizing free kicks, many of those future Cristiano Ronaldos might already be showcasing those tricks on a pitch made of potato chip bags. Chips processor Lay’s is partnering with its longtime Champions League partner, UEFA, and grassroots soccer organization Streetfootballworld to provide the world’s first five soccer fields made out of potato chip bags.

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Using cutting-edge science to protect African farmers’ potato crops, incomes, and food security

In a blog post on Global Food for Thought, guest authors Chris Kennedy and Bob Easter examine how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa can promote global food security. It has to start with good seed, they write. Their seed has to have the genetic traits to not only produce more grain or fruit or tubers, but it also has to have the traits that make the plant resistant to the crops’ natural enemies and climate threats.

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2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

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New Potatoes South Africa awareness campaign highlights resilience, optimism of unsung industry heroes

Potatoes South Africa (PSA) has launched a bold new awareness campaign in a bid to create perspective about the resilience and performance of the potato industry’s stakeholders in the country, especially in the context of South Africa recently marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 disruption. Called #WhenHopeWhispers, the campaign aims to highlight the resilient spirit and contributions of various stakeholders from the potato industry.

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Kenyan potato production expected to surge, farmers encouraged to switch

Kenya’s potato production could hit 2.5 million tonnes in 2021 up from the estimated 2 million tonnes produced in 2020, the industry said last Friday. Wachira Kaguongo, CEO of National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) told Xinhua in Nairobi that both production and demand were affected last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We expect production to rebound in 2021 due to favorable weather as well as increased potato seed distribution to farmers,” Kaguongo said.

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Kenya applies for multi million dollar IFAD grant to boost seed potato production

Kenya has applied for a Sh656 million (approx US$6 mil) grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost research on potato seed production and cut reliance on imports. The fund will be used to increase the availability of certified seed in the country and cut the imports of tubers, which has been blamed for introducing foreign pests in the country. Kenya

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CIP: Virtual training webinar to cover apical rooted cuttings

This virtual training webinar, hosted by the International Potato Center (CIP), will cover all aspects of apical rooted cuttings for potato seed production, including sessions on tissue culture multiplication, transplantation, and acclimatization of tissue culture plantlets in polyhouse, among others. The panel will include experts from CIP, the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot (UHS).

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Kenyan potato farmers increase yields with higher-quality seed and improved agronomic practices

In the village of Meru, in eastern Kenya, farmers are celebrating better potato harvests. In just the past two years, their harvests have increased from 10 tons per hectare to 28, bringing them close to the range of yields in most European countries (between 30-50 tons/ha). Farmers credit the increase to higher-quality seed combined with improved agronomic practices. In the past, farmers used potatoes from the previous season

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Dutch criminals said to use potato exports to Africa to launder money

According to the Fiscale Inlichtingen en OpsporingsDienst (FIOD), Dutch criminals are increasingly using potato exports to Africa to launder money, FIOD chief Bert Langerak has said. Investigations by the tax fraud detection body, whose annual report was published on Monday, has shown that criminals

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2Blades Foundation: The quest to bring a durable, blight-resistant potato to African farmers

The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a project that recently developed a durable solution for the late blight potato disease. The discovery is of historic importance, and now 2Blades is seeking partners to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa. 2Blades Foundation says it is honored to have the support of the son of Robert F. Kennedy, businessman Chris Kennedy, for its African Potato Initiative.

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Coronavirus lockdown abroad forces Egypt

Wholesale prices for potatoes have decreased sharply over the past week in Egypt, driving Egyptian farmers to abandon their own crops due to lockdown polices from importing countries harming the Egyptian product, saturating the local market and causing low demand and widespread dumping. Experts claimed that the crop is subject to a dumping policy and warned that farmers would be reluctant to grow potatoes next season, calling for urgent intervention by the government to protect food security.

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Fight the blight: Why a new potato variety could be a game-changer for farmers in East Africa

Researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organisation Uganda and the International Potato Center, have developed a new variety of potato which is resistant to late blight. Using new molecular techniques, they transferred late-blight resistance genes into the popular East African potato variety Victoria. The new variety, known as 3R Victoria, is almost identical to the variety farmers now plant in Uganda, with one crucial difference. It contains three genes from a potato relative that provide it with complete resistance to the late blight pathogen.

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Kenya Netherlands Seed Potato Program: Working together on sustainable potato production in Kenya

The Kenyan highlands have the potential to grow an excellent potato crop. However, the yields (7 – 10 T/ha) have not yet reached their potential. To assist the sector to optimize its production, the Kenya Netherlands Seed Potato Program – financed by the Government of the Netherlands – was started. The program has already led to several positive developments since its launch in Kenya. 34 Dutch varieties are registered for cultivation by potato farmers in Kenya. Several sustainable solutions, such as storage, have been introduced.

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Solanum International

TOMRA Food