Potato producers in Rwanda are seeking an increase in the number of potato seed multipliers to enhance yields and combat escalating food prices in the market.
One of the key solutions proposed to address the challenge of limited access to improved seeds is the expansion of potato seed multipliers.
Apolinaire Karegeya, the head of national potato seed producers said Presently, the country are facing inadequate potato production to meet the dietary needs of numerous households.
Apolinaire Karegeya, points out that while there are 240 accredited potato seed multipliers, only 120 of them are currently active. This disparity underscores the inability of the existing number of multipliers to meet the demands of farmers.
Karegeya emphasizes, “The certification process for seeds is lengthy, and there is a pressing need to scale up the number of seed multipliers. Farmers should not have to wait indefinitely. We require more investors and comprehensive training.
The limited number of producers has led to a scarcity of improved or certified seeds, resulting in high prices that many farmers cannot afford”.
Bernadette Nzamukosha, a resident of Musanze district, and several local small-scale farmers told New Times, recommends the availability of “affordable improved potato seeds and access to chemical fertilizers” as a means to increase production and improve livelihoods.
According to Theophile Ndacyayisenga, a Potato Scientist at the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), approximately 10 percent of Irish potato multipliers across the country provide improved or certified seeds to roughly 45,000 local farmers.