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Accelerating Seed Potato Production By Using Rapid Multiplication Systems in Ethiopia

January 17 2018 by INKOA
Resource image of the African potato platform

Ethiopia is one of the major potato producing countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa region where potato is the fastest expanding food crop. The natural environment in Ethiopia is very suitable for year round production of potato using rain-fed and irrigated systems. However, the actual potato yield in the country ranges between 8-10 t/ha, which is slightly below the average for Africa. Shortage of good quality seed has been recognized as the single most important factor limiting potato production in the developing countries including Ethiopia. 

The objective of this paper is to review the accelerating role of rapid seed potato multiplication technologies for potato seed production in Ethiopia. A low adoption of recommended seed potato technologies in the country could be due to a lack of alternative seed potato production methods compatible with farmers’ economic and agro-ecological conditions. Since 2010, Holetta Agricultural Research Centre in collaboration with International Potato Center together are applying different seed potato production hastening schemes to produce early generation seed. These seed multiplication schemes include, tissue culture, aeroponics, sand hydroponics and other rapid multiplication methods in screen house pots. These seed potato multiplication schemes brought a dynamic change for the last five years by accelerating the supply efficiency by 7.6% with enhancing the number from 43,773 mini-tubers to 332,485 mini-tubers. Moreover, these new seed multiplication schemes enhanced the capacity of clean seed production of the country by producing 216,717 mini-tubers of high quality seed from aeroponics and sand hydroponics. The farmers could also access early generation clean seed potato through their nearby cooperatives with affordable price and with lowtransportation cost. Thus, for developing countries like Ethiopia where formal seed system is at infant stages and early generation seed is mostly produced by research institutions, the use of various rapid multiplication techniques could be one option to produce clean seed potato.

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