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Spirit Newsletter nº14 / January 2017

Dear Spirit Forum member,

The Spirit Project has successfully reached its end. The Spirit Project, which has run from January 2014 to December 2016, has effectively contributed to strengthen the capacities in scientific research and innovative technologies for enhanced product quality along the potato value chain in East Africa.

First, the “East Africa Potato Research and Knowledge Exchange Forum, has been formally constituted by 16 research entities from East Africa and Spain and has conducted 6 knowledge-exchange events and 31 technical visits attended by more than 40 researchers.

Moreover, the web-based “East Africa potato value chain knowledge sharing portal” has been released as a tool for addressing the scientific and technological divide in the field of agricultural value-chain innovations. The portal, which currently has 438 registered members, has been fueled with 273 new documents, 55 events and 117 pieces of news.

Besides, four research groups focused on different research topics related to the potato value chain have been created and count with the participation of 82 researchers.

Furthermore, the Spirit Project has conducted 16 innovation sessions in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda with the participation of 459 relevant stakeholders so as to get their opinion on the main gaps hindering the adoption of innovation along the potato value chain. On the basis of the results of the innovation sessions, a set of 4 guidelines on innovative technologies and best practices for enhanced potato quality has been developed and distributed among more than 750 relevant actors.

Finally Spirit Project has developed a set of country-specific policy-recommendation brochures aimed at providing policy makers with recommendations for fostering the adoption of innovations along the potato value chain through modifications in existing policies, regulations and standards. Additionally, over 20 meetings have been held with more than 70 relevant authorities and policy-makers from East Africa in order to share with them the gaps and weaknesses identified in current policy and to foster the adoption of the policy recommendations and proposals developed.

We thank you for following our progress and being part of the East Africa Value Chain Knowledge Sharing Portal.

Kind regards,

The Spirit Project Coordination Group


Allocative efficiency in potato production in lowland areas of Uganda
January 31 2017 by INKOA

Potato (Solanum tuberasum) is an important crop in Uganda. Although it was traditionally grown in highland areas, its cultivation has now spread to lowlands. However there is limited information on the performance of potato within the low altitudes and how resources are allocated to attain maximum profit. A study involving 276 potato farmers was carried out to; i) characterize potato farmers in the lowland districts, and ii) estimate the level of allocative efficiency among potato farmers. Data were analysed by way of t-test and linear ordinary least squares regression. 

Determinants of Smallholder Farmers’ Participation in the Potato Market in Kabale and Mbale
January 31 2017 by INKOA

This study was done in Kabale and Mbale districts of Uganda for the two potato growing seasons of 2011/2012. It sought to determine factors that hinder smallholder farmers’ level of participation in the potato market in addition to those that influence their decisions to participate in the potato market. It also aimed at developing potato farmer typologies basing on levels of market participation. Data from a survey of 200 potato farmers selected from Kabale and Mbale using a multi-stage sampling process was collected and analysed. 

Producing potato crop from true potato seed (TPS): A comparative study
January 25 2017 by INKOA

In producing a commercial potato crop from true potato seeds (TPS), ware potato crop can be grown by: direct sowing of TPS in the field for production of seed or ware tubers; raising seedlings from TPS in a greenhouse or seedbed and transplanting them later into the field for production of seed or ware tubers in the same season and; direct sowing of TPS in seedbeds at close spacing for production of seedling tubers for producing a commercial crop in the next season. Each propagation method has its advantages and disadvantages. Based on this background, a study was conducted whose objective was to compare the effectiveness of seedling tubers and seedling transplants in production of a potato crop from true potato seeds.

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New agreement between Netherlands and Tanzania to boost the tubers production

January 26 2017

Arusha — Potato growers in the country stand to benefit from a new agreement between Netherlands and Tanzania, targeting to help farmers in the country boost the tubers production as well as being provided with potential market outlets abroad.

The Netherlands Minister for Agriculture; Mr Martijn Van Dam and the Tanzania Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries William Ole Nasha, have just inked a special agreement on potato seed importation requirements as well as launching the Potato Trade Mission.

Strengthening Education for Agricultural Development Project launched in Rwanda

January 26 2017

The engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Finance’s National Capacity Building Secretariat, has officially launched the Strengthening Education for Agricultural Development (SEAD) Project in this country.

Focusing on the dairy, poultry, Irish potato and vegetable agricultural value chains, SEAD will help farmers to address the critical constraints that limit the quantity and quality of their production and their competitiveness.


January 31 2017

The East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 (EAPTC-2017) aims to identify scalable post-harvest technologies in East Africa for dissemination. The EAPTC-2017 will select top 50 scalable technologies from successful entries and offer them accelerated training on scaling up and pitching. Twenty five outstanding participants in the accelerated training will be given an opportunity to showcase and pitch to potential partners (development partners, donors, Governments, farmers/traders associations and investors)in a special session during the upcoming East Africa Postharvest Technologies Fair set for May 2017. The exhibition will be organized by the Inter Region Economic Network in conjunction with its partners-The East Africa Trade Investment Hub and Syngenta. The EAPTC-2017 seeks to identify postharvest innovations and technologies that demonstrate potential for scale up and offer practical solutions to challenges of postharvest food loss and waste across agricultural value chains in the region. The top three technologies will receive cash prize/seed capital.

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Call for applications for the 2017 SWITCH Africa Green-SEED Awards

From 08/03/2017 to 08/03/2017 — -

The SAG-SEED Awards 2017 for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up eco-inclusive enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. The independent SEED International Jury of experts selects enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. The SAG-SEED Awards 2017 will, this year be awarding Africa's innovative leaders in eco-inclusive entrepreneurship.


Call for Proposals 2017: RUFORUM Community Action Research Programme

From 27/03/2017 to 27/03/2017 — Kenya, Uganda

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation is implementing an eight year programme “Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev)”. The TAGDev Programme seeks to transform African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to developmental challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation. This 2017 Call for proposals for the Community Action Research Programme (CARP+) targeted to Egerton University and Gulu University and financed by TAGDev Programme. The CARP program aims to encourage universities to develop and invest in more comprehensive and sustained action research into a particular geographical area or in a selected commodity along the full value chain.

For this initial call ONLY proposals from Gulu University or Egerton University will be eligible. A follow up call to award four additional CARP+ projects will be released in August 2017 and will be open to all RUFORUM member universities.

Switch Africa II Green Programme Informative Session

From 13/02/2017 to 13/02/2017 — Albert Borschette, Room 1, A Rue Froissant 36, Brussels (Belgium)

Information session on the new call for proposals of the Switch Africa Green II Programme.

Participation is free but registration is required. 

Participation should be confirmed at latest by Monday 6 February at thibaut.portevin@ec.europa.eu

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