Tag Archives: Uganda

Transforming the value chain – one cooking banana at a time

This is the first installment in a series of in-depth blogs investigating the ways in which the RTB-ENDURE project is strengthening the value chains for root, tuber and banana crops in Uganda. Through firsthand accounts from the farmers, traders and scientists at the heart of the project we get an inside look in to the effect this is having on the ground. Reporting and photography by Sara Quinn, Regional Communications Specialist, the International Potato Center.

View the full photo story here

Banana research in Africa: modern breeding techniques, regulatory and biosafety issues

Registration is now open for an advanced course ‘Banana research in Africa: modern breeding techniques, regulatory and biosafety issues‘ from 19 – 30 September 2016, organized by International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO–VIB/UGent) in collaboration with KULeuven and NARO, and hosted by NARO-Kawanda in Uganda.

Aimed at Africans engaged in banana improvement programs including scientists, regulators and lawyers, the course will provide training in modern breeding techniques, how to collect relevant and reliable data to perform risk analysis, and how to communicate scientific results and goals.

A researcher checks on the health status of banana seedlings in a screenhouse. Photo by IITA

Supported by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the program will give an overview of the most important banana diseases and how to address them through breeding as well as biotechnological approaches.The program continues with an overview of regulatory and risk assessment principles relevant to the African region. Participants will also obtain insights in to the metabolomics of banana, bioinformatics methods and banana processing.

Finally, a two-day workshop will teach participants how to communicate research findings and goals to a non-scientific audience and the public at large. The sessions will be interactive, including group work, presentations and discussions. The program also includes visits to confined field trials and local farmers.

A number of scholarships with support from VLIR-UOS for accommodation and travel expenses are available. The deadline for scholarship applications is 31 May, 2016.

For more information on the course program, registration, scholarship eligibility criteria and application forms, visit the IPBO-VIB/UGent website or contact: sylvie.debuck@vib-ugent.be

Registration for the course closes 30 June, 2016

The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) is working in partnership with NARO, IITA and KULeuven on a number of projects, including a banana drought response study with KULeuven which showed that selection for high transpiration efficiency could be used to identify cultivars with better performance during both well-watered and water-stress conditions, thus projecting good yield during both normal and dry years. With IITA and NARO, the program is also working on accelerating banana breeding and improving knowledge on the banana genome.

Adding value and reducing postharvest losses in Uganda’s cooking banana value chain

Cooking banana is the main staple crop in Uganda produced mostly by smallholders for food and income. However, the cooking banana value chain  actors face risks of high postharvest losses due to the short green life of bananas and damage arising from poor  handling of the produce after it is harvested, leading to high physical and economic losses.

A detailed market study was conducted in Isingiro, Rakai and metropolitan Kampala in Uganda to identify and describe the key players in the banana value chain and establish the current demand and future growth prospects of the different banana presentation forms. The study also established the level of sorting and grading in the banana value chain, the level of use of the weight-based pricing system and the actor’s willingness to pay for its introduction, along with determining the extent and causes of postharvest losses along the banana value chain.

Results show that the cooking banana value chain is characterized by a large number of middlemen (5-7) between producers and consumers, which is partly responsible for high consumer prices and increased postharvest losses as the bananas change hands.

Cooking banana for sale at a market in Mbale, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

Cooking banana for sale at a market in Mbale, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

The results further show that there are four market-preferred varieties; Nakitembe, Musakala and Mbwazirume, plus Kibuzi which also has a long shelf-life. While these varieties are not widely grown by farmers, they are willing to purchase clean planting materials of these varieties if available.

Bananas are traded mainly as bunches and unpeeled fingers at all levels, but also as clusters and peeled fingers at retail level. Clusters and peeled fingers are missing at the primary production end of the value chain. There is an increasing demand for peeled bananas by customers at retail level, therefore retailers could demand for peeled bananas right from the farm. It was also noted that there is an increased demand for smaller units and convenient forms of presentation, such as packaged peeled and unpeeled fingers to cater for the changes in demographics.

All the value chain actors grade banana bunches by size while only exporters grade by variety, appearance, size and shape of fingers. However, the majority of people working in throughout the value chain recognize the importance of sorting and grading and are willing to adopt the practice. The consumers also show willingness to pay a premium if such products were availed on market.

A banana exporter preparing her bananas, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

A banana exporter preparing her bananas, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

Unit prices are determined by visual inspection. However, the actors recognize that this system is arbitrary and presents risks for unfair marketing transactions. Unlike other value chain actors, exporters buy and sell banana using a weight-based pricing system, yet their suppliers negotiate (through brokers) the bunch price at the farm using visual inspection. Post-harvest losses along the chain are high.

Substantial amounts of banana are thrown away (physical losses) particularly during the peak harvesting seasons and even higher volumes incur some degree of quality deterioration leading to lower selling price (economic losses). The study has estimated the extent of physical and economic post-harvest losses at each stage of the value chain. Female value chain actors experience higher losses compared to their male counterparts.  Major causes of the losses are bruising, ripening, finger plucking and scotching.

A woman harvests bananas in Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

A woman harvests bananas in Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

The study has revealed various challenges and opportunities. Targeted interventions can be designed to address these challenges and also take advantage of the opportunities. Such interventions would reduce post-harvest losses and narrow the gap between farm-gate and retail prices.

This study has  been conducted in the framework of “Expanding Utilization of Roots, Tubers and Bananas and Reducing Their Postharvest Losses” (RTB-ENDURE), a 3 year project (2014-2016) implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) with funding by the European Union and technical support of IFAD.

Making use of sweetpotato vines as silage

When James Francis Ojakol enrolled for a Master degree in animal science at Makerere University, he had no idea how he would finance his studies nor what area to study.

An opportunity from International Potato Center (CIP) to fund a research project fell into his lap.
Uganda is hosting a three-year $4m (Shs13.4b) project, funded by the European Union, which will expand the utilization of roots, tubers and bananas and reduce their post-harvest losses. The project is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, of which CIP is the lead center.

Among other things the project will improve utilisation of sweet potato vines, roots and peels as pig feeds in Uganda, said Diego Naziri, a post-harvest specialist at CIP in Uganda and the leader of the project.

Read the full story at the Ugandan Daily Monitor website.

 

Making use of sweetpotato vines as silage

When James Francis Ojakol enrolled for a Master degree in animal science at Makerere University, he had no idea how he would finance his studies nor what area to study.

An opportunity from International Potato Center (CIP) to fund a research project fell into his lap.
Uganda is hosting a three-year $4m (Shs13.4b) project, funded by the European Union, which will expand the utilization of roots, tubers and bananas and reduce their post-harvest losses. The project is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, of which CIP is the lead center.

Among other things the project will improve utilisation of sweetpotato vines, roots and peels as pig feeds in Uganda, said Diego Naziri, a post-harvest specialist at CIP in Uganda and the leader of the project.

Quality animal feed
Ojakol is now engaged in a two-year research that will contribute to this project. His topic is ‘Evaluation of Sweetpotato Silage as a Basel Diet for Growing Pigs’.

“The general objective is to improve pig production in Uganda through the use of sweetpotato silage as a low cost and high quality feed,” he says.

Research has already established that sweetpotato is a good feed for animals and livestock and specifically pigs. Ojakol’s research is of utmost importance to farmers in Uganda for many reasons. Research shows that feeding costs for pigs represent about 70 per cent of the variable costs in smallholder farms.

Pigs in Uganda feed on sweetpotato silage. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

Pigs in Uganda feed on sweetpotato silage. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

Indeed, women and the youth will benefit more from Ojakol’s research and the silage technology most since they are more responsible for pig management at a household level. Silage will reduce the time for sourcing feeds and reduce on the use of fuel like firewood for cooking them.

“Women are participating more in growing sweetpotatoes and in keeping pigs. Of course, unfortunately, they have the challenge of feeds, so they can’t keep a lot,” notes Gerald Kyalo, the principal investigator of the project.

“If we can get these women to make silage, that means they can increase the number of pigs they are keeping and of course that then will increase income.”

Prevent wastage
Uganda ranks number one, in East Africa, in pork per capita consumption. In Uganda, 44 per cent of farmers grow sweetpotatoes but the vines are discarded after harvesting and left to rot in the gardens.

A farmer with sweetpotato silage he has prepared for his animals, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

A farmer with sweetpotato silage he has prepared for his animals, Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/RTB

Yet they can be ensilaged and used as pig feed during the dry season when there is feed scarcity.
Sweetpotato is the third most important food crop after cassava and bananas in Uganda. In Africa, Uganda is now the leading producer of sweetpotato only second to China in the world. However, simple technologies like ensilaging have not yet been embraced.

The simple affordable technology of ensilaging the roots and vines will help to prevent wastage of valuable feed resources, adds Kyalo.

Sweetpotato is seasonal. There are times after harvesting that farmers have a lot of sweet potatoes and during harvesting they waste all the vines. Yet these same farmers have pigs. So, during times of scarcity like during the dry season, they really have nothing to feed the pigs.

“Our objective is to bridge the gap of feed scarcity especially during the dry season. We are introducing silage making to farmers, teach them how to make silage of good quality, how to supplement it, and how to feed their pigs. This will bridge the gap of lack of feeds and actual expensive feed,” observes Kyalo.

Potential benefits
“The processed sweetpotato residues offer an inexpensive and nutritious alternative feed ration for livestock that may increase economic returns,” Dr Jolly Kabirizi, a researcher at the Ugandan National Livestock Resources Research Institute, points out. The roots are a good source of energy and the vines a source of protein but they are highly perishable.

Kabirizi said sweetpotato has potential benefits to poor farm households and urban consumers especially when other crops fail or in specific seasons before the main harvest.

Ojakol’s research has three specific objectives; to determine the quality of silage prepared from sweet potato vines, the nutrient digestibility of sweetpotato silage in growing pigs and to determine the growth performance of pigs fed on sweet potato silage.

The research has four arms: the control is the commercial diet with pigs fed on a mixture of maize brand, omena and cotton seed.

Others are fed on ensilaged sweet potato vines mixed with five per cent maize brand; ensilaged sweet potato vines mixed with five percent cassava flour and ensilaged sweetpotato vines only.
“Our intention is, first of all, to get the right ratios for silage. And I think we are already making progress with the research on the station,” says the principal investigator Kyalo.

He adds they also want the farmers they have trained to take up silage making as a business.
Many of the places, Masaka and Kamuli, have a lot of sweetpotatoes and can easily start selling silage.

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A field of sweetpotato growing in Uganda. Photo S.Quinn/CIP

Silage is made in a vacuum. When you open it, it can stay for 10 days, according to Kabirizi. You can make several drums and open them one at a time.

Ojakol spends most his study time at Kamenyamiggo Satelitte Station, which is under Naro’s Mukono Zardi, where the research is taking place. He has to make the silage and he keeps on recording the weight gain for the pigs. For Ojakol the timing has never been better. “We have no doubt that Ugandan pigs will like silage and farmers will sell it and benefit from it too,” he says with a smile.

The principle of silage making
At harvest, plant cells do not immediately “die”; they continue to respire as long as they remain adequately hydrated and oxygen is available. The oxygen is necessary for the physiological process of respiration, which provides energy for functioning cells. In this process, carbohydrates (plant sugars) are consumed (oxidised) by plant cells in the presence of oxygen to yield carbon dioxide, water and heat: sugar + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water + heat.

Once in the silo, certain yeasts, moulds and bacteria that occur naturally on forage plants can also reach populations large enough to be significant sources of respiration. In the silage mass, the heat generated during respiration is not readily dissipated, and therefore the temperature of the silage rises.

Although a slight rise in temperature from 80° to 90°F is acceptable, the goal is to limit respiration by eliminating air (oxygen) trapped in the forage mass. Some air will be incorporated into any silo during the filling process, and a slight increase in silage temperature is likely. These temperature increases can clearly be limited by harvesting at the proper moisture content and by increasing the bu k density of the silage.

Generally, it is desirable to limit respiration during the fermentation process by using common sense techniques that include close inspection of the silo walls prior to filling, harvesting the forage at the proper moisture content, adjusting the chopper properly (fineness of chop), rapid filling, thorough packing, prompt sealing and close inspection of plastics for holes.

Read the original article by Esther Nakazzi on the Ugandan Daily Monitor website

Reinforcing the gender lens in research on value chains and technology adoption

The following post by André Devaux, Claudia Babini, Diego Naziri, Caitlin Kieran, and Evgeniya Anisimova was originally published on the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets website.

The CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) have been collaborating on reinforcing the gender focus in research on value chains development and technology adoption for a few years now. In this post, our colleagues from the International Potato Center (CIP) share some recent updates on this work from Uganda and Latin America and Caribbean region.

Gender-sensitive value chain development

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Cassava traders at a market in Uganda

Building on work developed by PIM and RTB in 2014 and 2015 to produce gender-sensitive tools to make value chain interventions more gender responsive, the International Potato Center (CIP) team in Uganda is now conducting gender analysis for on-going
postharvest research activities in the cassava, sweet potato, banana, and potato value chains. In December 2015, under auspices of the RTB project on Expanding Utilization of Roots, Tubers and Bananas and Reducing Their Postharvest Losses (RTB-ENDURE) and with support from PIM, CIP Uganda organized a workshop with the banana and potato sub-project partners and beneficiaries in order to impart skills and tools to identify, analyze, and devise strategies for mitigating gender-based constraints in value chain interventions.

The four-day gender training focused on sensitizing participants on the importance of gender responsive postharvest research as well as engendered business planning. During 2016, the team will continue to work on refining the gender analytical tools to enhance their usability by practitioners from the research and development sector.
Read the workshop report

Gender factors influencing technology adoption

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Potato traders in Mbale, Uganda.

Most studies find that men are generally more likely to adopt new technologies compared to women (Ragasa, 2012). These differences may be the result of gender gaps in access to and control over inputs, such as land, credit, labor, and extension services. From December 2015 to January 2016, CIP researchers conducted focus group discussions and administered questionnaires to local technicians working in communities in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador in order to identify the factors affecting the dissemination and adoption of agricultural technologies by men and women. This research project, co-financed by the RTB Gender Integration Project and PIM Flagship 3 on Inclusive Value Chains and Efficient Trade, aims to produce recommendations for designing and implementing technology diffusion initiatives with a gender perspective in order to help development practitioners design and disseminate agricultural technologies that will be adopted by and benefit both men and women.

This research initiative builds upon work conducted in 2014 and 2015 by CIP in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region to develop recommendations to reinforce gender mainstreaming in agricultural technology innovation processes for food security. These recommendations will be used as capacity building material in LAC and other regions in the implementation projects with national partners.

For more detail see: Technology for men and women: Recommendations to reinforce gender mainstreaming in agricultural technology innovation processes for food security (English version and Spanish version)

Six steps forward for root and tuber crops

Graham Thiele, Program Director, CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) shares his top six highlights from the first World Congress on Root and Tuber Crops, January 18 – 22, Nanning, China.

With root and tuber crops providing food for than 2.2 billion million people around the globe, it is no surprise that our efforts to improve these crops are so broad and geographically dispersed. The first World Congress on Root and Tuber Crops, which has just wrapped up in Nanning, China, brought together hundreds of experts working on various areas in the value chain and  is a special forum to share advances across all our crops.

This is one of the reasons why RTB is so pleased to support the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) and Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) as co-organizers. For me, it was also great to see so many friends and colleagues in the roots and tubers community and catch up on progress. There is so much to report back, but I do have a few highlights from the week which particularly struck me to share.

Omics and beyond

It’s astonishing the progress made with understanding the genetic makeup of root and tuber crops and the different pathways from genes to trait expression which the new science of ‘omics’ has made possible. It was impressive to see the progress made by our Chinese colleagues, including a lively presentation from Songbi Chen of the Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) on the application of proteomics cassava breeding to understand how we could improve photosynthetic efficiency and starch accumulation in roots, thus potentially increasing their dry matter content.

A CIAT researcher examines cassava buds in the lab. Photo: N.Palmer/CIAT

A CIAT researcher examines cassava buds in the lab. Photo: N.Palmer/CIAT

Cassava as animal feed

I knew that cassava is a potential feed for livestock but I hadn’t understood that it actually has some special advantages. The presentation from Uthai Kanto, Associate Professor at Kasetsart University, and of the Thai Tapioca Development Institute (TTDI) explained how the fermentation and slight acidity of cassava chips inhibits mycotoxins when it used as a feed. Additionally the presence of low and non-toxic levels of cyanide even gives immunity to disease. These factors mean it’s a healthier alternative feed ingredient for livestock compared to maize, with improved weight gain for the animals although it does need a bit of enrichment with a protein source. This is an important finding for RTB supported work in utilization of cassava peel as animal feed.

Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato farmers in Rwanda. Photo: S.Quinn/CIP

Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato farmers in Rwanda. Photo: S.Quinn/CIP

Policy change promotes sweetpotato

Sweetpotato and other roots and tubers are often neglected crops. So it was very encouraging to learn from Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) that because of advocacy and progress in research through the SASHA and SUSTAIN projects implemented by CIP, Rwanda has included in recent policy documents the promotion of biofortified foods, and in three districts (Muhanga, Gakeneke and Rulindo) local governments have included sweetpotato as a priority crop as part of their efforts to fight micronutrient malnutrition and improve the diversification of diets. For sure there are lessons here for other root, tuber and banana crops.

 

Cassava seed system in Uganda

Anthony Pariyo of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda explained there has been good progress made towards developing a sustainable seed system for cassava in Uganda, including a functional public-private partnership with BioCrops providing 12,000 plants from bioculture and a network of 47 seed entrepreneurs selling seed to farmers. There are some potential lessons here for a new RTB project on cassava seed systems which is getting underway in Nigeria.

Pruning buys time for cassava

Cassava roots deteriorate quickly after harvest, posing a significant challenge for farmers and processors. Harriet Muyinza of NARO took part in an exchange visit to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia sponsored by the RTB-ENDURE project, during which she applied a cassava pruning technique that she learned during the exchange in field trials in Uganda. The results are very promising, showing that with one of the varieties called Tim Tim, pruning reduced post-harvest deterioration to below 20%, compared to 70% without pruning. This suggests that pruning could be effective for farmers to reduce storage loss and have more time to transport their crop to market.

Brown streak disease resistance

Morag Ferguson from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) reported the surprising finding that resistance to cassava brown streak disease, previously thought to have come from East Africa, was actually derived from a West African landrace. This, together with their location of molecular markers associated with the genetic inheritance of resistance should importantly enable preemptive breeding against brown streak disease in West Africa. This could be extremely important given that the disease is spreading west from its origin on the coast of Tanzania and potentially affecting the rest of the continent.

Graham Thiele, RTB Program Director, presents the program's priority assessment plans during the Congress. Photo: G.Smith/CIAT

Graham Thiele, RTB Program Director, summarizes the findings of the program’s priority assessment during the Congress. Photo: G.Smith/CIAT

I also took the opportunity to present two plenary sessions – the first updating the progress in RTB and giving a closer look at our work on improving climate change resilience, and the second summarizing the findings of the RTB priority assessment. This assessment kicked off at the GCP21 in 2013 and so it was very appropriate to present a wrap up in China.

Roots, tubers and banana plants: Next-generation pig feeds for Uganda

The demand for animal source foods in Uganda is rising as the country’s population continues to grow alongside improved income and urbanization.

Pork in particular has become an increasingly important food in the diets of Ugandans, reflected in the significant growth in consumption rates from the 1960s, when it accounted for only 1-2% of the per capita consumption of meat, to today’s level of at least 30% of the 10 kg consumed per capita/year.

Despite its growing popularity among both farmers and consumers, smallholder pig production in Uganda is faced by key constraints including limited access of farmers to a reliable supply of quality pig feed and the high cost of feed which can account for up to 62% of the total production cost.

Among the common fodder given to pigs in Uganda are sweetpotato, banana and other root and tuber ‘residues’, such as vines, leaves and peels. However, new research reveals that at time of harvest there is an excess of feed that is subsequently wasted as small-scale pig farmers in Uganda struggle to conserve this fodder for use during periods of scarcity.

Silage for pig feed. Photo by N.Palmer/CIAT

Silage made from crop residue. Photo by N.Palmer/CIAT

The results are part of a qualitative study entitled ‘Perceptions and practices of farmers on the utilization of sweetpotato, and other root tubers, and banana for pig feeding in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Uganda’, which was undertaken in two districts of Uganda with high pig and sweetpotato production in order to understand how farmers’ use and perceive root, tuber and banana (RTB) crops as pig feed.

Published in the open-access journal Livestock Research for Rural Development, the study shows that pig production in these districts is dominated by small-scale farmers who produce both crops and livestock, and depend heavily on crop residues for feed.

Sweetpotato in particular was found to be the leading contributor to pig diet in rural areas, with farmers mostly using fresh, raw vines (70%) as compared to roots and peels. In peri-urban areas where farmers have greater access to commercial feeds, they typically mixed crop residues with commercial concentrates.

However, the conservation of crop residues is not a common practice and without access to new preservation technologies farmers can waste between 37% – 40% of their feed during periods of excess when the amount of feed exceeds demand by the herd.

Piglets eating fresh sweetpotato vines in Uganda. Photo by S.Quinn/CIP

Piglets eating fresh sweetpotato vines in Uganda. Photo by S.Quinn/CIP

In contrast, during times of feed scarcity many farmers must sell off their stock to cope, subsequently lowering pig market prices and affecting the profitability of their businesses.

In light of these findings, the authors call for further exploration of strategies to conserve RTB crop residues during the harvest period to reduce waste and improve incomes for smallholder pig farmers in Uganda.

This research was conducted by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, the International Potato Center, Iowa State University-Uganda Program and the Ugandan government as part of the ‘Expanding Utilization of Roots, Tubers and Bananas and Reducing Their Postharvest Losses’ (RTB-ENDURE) project which is implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas. This work also forms part of a portfolio of collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

The RTB-ENDURE project is funded by the European Union and implemented with the technical support of IFAD with the aim to improve food availability and income generation through better postharvest management and expanded utilization of root, tuber and banana crops in Uganda.

 

Featured photo by N.Palmer/CIAT

New potato storage facilities help Ugandan farmers increase incomes

Potato is a critical source of income and food security in Uganda. However due to constraints, including the high perishability of the crop and limited storage facilities, farmers are faced with a short marketing window that impacts their income.

This is particularly important in Eastern Uganda where there are two potato cropping seasons that result in a highly seasonal market with periods of excess and scarcity, causing prices to fluctuate.

To help farmers extend the shelf-life of their produce for sale in the off-season when the prices are higher – providing them with a more stable income and evening out market supplies – the “Postharvest innovations for better access to specialized ware potato markets” sub-project of the RTB-ENDURE project supported the construction of four ware potato ambient stores in Mbale, Kapchorwa and Kween districts.

These storage facilities were launched at a colorful event on October 23, 2015 which was preceded by a science day on October 22, 2015 at the Mbale Resort Hotel, Mbale in Eastern Uganda.

MPODA Members pose in front of a newly completed Ambient Ware Potato Store in Mbale, Eastern Uganda. Photo by S.Quinn/CIP

MPODA Members pose in front of a newly completed Ambient Ware Potato Store in Mbale, Eastern Uganda. Photo by S.Quinn/CIP

Led by the International Potato Center, in partnership with BugiZARDI (NARO), Self Help Africa, Makerere University and private sector partners, the sub-project is part of the larger three-year “Expanding Utilization of Roots, Tubers and Bananas and Reducing Their Postharvest Losses” (RTB-ENDURE) project implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas.

During the science day, the RTB-ENDURE research team and other players in the potato research and development arena presented updates from on-going and completed work to improve performance of the sector.

Following an opening by Dr. Diego Naziri, RTB-ENDURE Project Leader, and a welcome speech by Dr. Lawrence Owere, Director of Research at BugiZARDI, a description of the sub-project and its planned outputs was provided by Dr. Monica Parker, Deputy Potato Science Leader for the International Potato Center in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Further sessions included lessons learned and challenges from the construction of the ambient ware potato stores, along with updates on market research and on the strategies to ensure the storage of quality potatoes, fair access to postharvest innovations and equitable benefit sharing between male and female value chain actors.

Participants inside a newly completed Ambient Ware Potato Store at Kapchorwa, Eastern Uganda. Photo by S. Quinn/CIP

Participants inside a newly completed Ambient Ware Potato Store at Kapchorwa, Eastern Uganda. Photo by S. Quinn/CIP

This was followed by presentations by other research and development organizations (NARO-Kawanda, FAO and IFDC) of on-going initiatives to strengthen the potato value chain in Uganda and a meeting for participants to discuss the opportunities and challenges for a regional potato multi-stakeholders platform.

The RTB-ENDURE project is funded by the European Union and implemented with the technical support of IFAD, with the aim to improve food availability and income generation through better postharvest management and expanded utilization of root, tuber and banana crops in Uganda.

Farmers trained in silage production

Some 28 agriculture officials and farmers have been trained in silage production for pigs at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo, Uganda, containing sweetpotato vines and unwanted roots.

The training, sweetpotato production, management and utilization workshop for training of trainers was organised by the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The officials and farmers were chosen from Masaka and Kamuli districts. Dr Peter Mulindwa, an official from ILRI, said they picked officials from Masaka because it is one of the leading producers of pigs in the country. He said Kamuli was chosen because of its high sweetpotato production.

Read the article