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Participatory potato seed production: a breakthrough for food security and income generation in the central highlands of Ethiopia

Abebe Chindi
  • Corresponding author
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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/ Egata Shunka
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/ EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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/ Atsede Solomon
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/ EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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/ W. Giorgis Gebremedhin
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/ EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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/ Ebrahim Seid
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/ EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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/ Lemma Tessema
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research/ EIAR/, Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia
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Published Online: 2017-04-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0021

Abstract

Quality seed is one of the major bottlenecks hampering the production and productivity of potato not only in Ethiopia but also in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1970’s, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research has generated a number of improved potato production technologies such as improved varieties with accompanying agronomic practices, crop protection measures, postharvest handling techniques and utilization options. The developed technologies were promoted from 2013-2015 via technology promotion and popularization to the Wolmera, Adea-Bera and Ejere districts with the objective of creating awareness and up scaling of improved potato production and utilization technologies. The Potato Improvement Research Program and the Research and Extension Division of Holetta Research Center in collaboration with extension staff of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) undertake this activity. The farmers were selected and organized in Farmer Field Schools and all stakeholders were engaged before distributing potato seeds and planting on selected farmers’ fields for demonstrating of potato production technologies. A total of 899 farmers and 40 agricultural experts were trained and 27.7, 9 and 5.5 tons of quality seeds of Gudanie, Jalenie and Belete potato varieties, respectively, were delivered as a revolving seed with their recommended agronomic packages; this amount of seed covered 21.1 ha. A total of 16 farmer groups from Wolmera, 7 from Adea-Berga, and 11 from Ejere participated. They produced over 434 tons of relatively clean seed and constructed 8 diffused light stores. In addition to the demonstration of improved potato varieties, information dissemination was also an important component of the program to raise awareness for a large numbers of potato growers through farmers’ field days, pamphlets, and mass media. Each year about three field days were organized and more than 1500 pamphlets were distributed to farmers invited from neighboring districts and ‘Kebeles’ to enhance speed. Through this intervention farmers are now harvesting a yield of about 26-34 t/ha up from 8t/ha when they were using inferior quality potato seed; this has made the farmers in the intervention area more food secure especially during the usually food scarce months of August to October when cereal crops are generally yet to mature. The farmers are also getting additional income from the sale of excess potato and are able to better meet other necessary costs like school fees, for their children.

Keywords: Potato; food security; Participatory seed production; Farmer Field School; income generation

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About the article

Received: 2016-11-10

Accepted: 2017-03-23

Published Online: 2017-04-13

Published in Print: 2017-02-01


Citation Information: Open Agriculture, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 205–212, ISSN (Online) 2391-9531, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0021.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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