Agro-BIG News

Tryouts for Improved Potato Seed Multiplication in Mecha Are Promising, Role of Adet Research Center Incremental



 How can a potato processing business thrive without a constant supply of quality potato? How can farmers receive a better price for their product if they do not have access to quality seed? These are questions that demonstrate the importance of a well-functioning quality potato seed system. From its beginning, Agro-BIG has been working with developing such a system in Amhara Region, fully aware of the fact that the absence of such a system is one of the key constraints in the potato value chain.  

So far farmers have been relying on informal system which provides them with a low-yielding, disease-prone potato unsuitable for the demands of the market, especially in the Mecha district. Some improved seeds have from time to time been available, but these have been unaffordable to smallholder farmers.

 Reversing the status quo

Something needed to be done to change the current situation. This is where Adet Research Center comes in. Having previous experience in multiplication of disease free potato seed, it has now initiated a mini tuber potato propagation and supply for the farmers in Mecha highlands. To date, the center has not been able to fulfill the growing demand for improved potato seeds due to limited capacity. However, with Agro-BIG support this process has now begun.        

The plan is to provide improved potato seed to seed producers in the highlands. These producers are currently organized into an association by Mecha Cooperatives Promotion Office. Legalization of their association into a recognized cooperative is underway. There are currently 40 farmer members in this group.

About 9800 mini tuber potatoes have been transported from Adet Research Center to Mecha farmer for further multiplication. Once the farmers get going with seed production, the harvested quality seeds can then be sold to other farmers in Mecha and produced to ware potato in an affordable price. Assistance, farmer trainings and field days are still needed, but so far the process looks very promising.