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Roots and Tuber value chain/Uganda - Project to set Common Potato Seed Systems for Rwanda and Uganda

17 janvier 2016

The project “African roots and tubers: Strengthening linkages between small actors and buyers”, was announced during a three-day sub-regional workshop on improving farmer’s access to quality potato seeds in Kigali. The project is seeking to set common potato seed systems between Rwanda and Uganda. Moreover, it seeks to improve livelihoods of small producers engaged in roots and tubers value chains through promotion of linkages to domestic and regional markets. The project is funded by the European Union, through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Other countries benefiting from the Euro 5 million funding are Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Cost, Ghana and Malawi. In Rwanda and Uganda, the project focuses on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders in the Irish potato sector. According to Attaher Maiga, FAO’s Rwanda representative, a regional approach is needed for development of effective potato seed systems to take advantage of the regional business integration. Major factor which necessitated a regional approach to the development of effective potato seed systems is the increase of trade rules in both ware and seed potatoes in East Africa borders. Johan Cauwenbergh, Head of Cooperation at EU Delegation to Rwanda noted that it is important for Rwanda and Uganda to jointly promote seed systems to ensure the whole potato value chain is improved to assure food security. The whole chain needs development in order to fully operate and have full capacity after production, from the plant to the table. Under Rwanda's Crop Intensification Programme, Irish potato is one of the six priority crops, besides maize, wheat, rice, beans and cassava, that were chosen to improve food security within the country. Dr Télesphore Ndabamenye, the Head of Crop Production and Food Security at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), emphasized that there are still challenges for farmers to access quality seeds in Rwanda. Most of potato seeds are obtained in an informal system where farmers are guided on how to produce seeds themselves, while only 5 per cent of the seeds are obtained through the formal system where seeds are controlled and examined, Head of Crop Production explained.



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