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[EBOOK] Seed Potato Tuber Production and Dissemination (Experiences, Challenges and Prospects), Abebe Kirub, Published by EIAR and ARARI

Potato is the world’s top non-grain food commodity. Global production over the past two decades has expanded from 267 to 375 million tons, and market opportunities are emerging to respond to the potato as a popular source of affordable food for growing urban populations. A highly dependable food security crop, potato offers important advantages over major food grains. Potato produces more food per unit area than the other major food crop. It generates more employment in the farm economy than other crops and serves as a source of cash income for low-income farm households through access to higher value markets along the potato value chain. Finally yet importantly, potato is not prone to speculative commodities trading on global markets, instead, prices are more likely set by local supply-and-demand conditions.

Yet, potato has long been regarded as a lowly subsistence crop and is still one of the underexploited food crops with a huge unrealized potential to improve food security, income and human nutrition. Ethiopia is one of the countries where the potential of this crop is increasingly being realized as witnessed by growing interest in this crop by private investors and policy makers. However, national average yields are still far below attainable yields and ample opportunities exist to unleash this crop’s potential for increased food security and income generation.

It is in this context, that the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) the Amhara Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI), , and the International Potato Center (CIP) with greatly appreciated financial support from USAID, FAO and Sasakawa Global 2000 organized a National Workshop on Seed Potato Production and Dissemination in Bahir Dar on 12 to 14 March 2012. The workshop provided a platform for public and private value chain stakeholders to discuss current activities and future potato research and development priorities. The workshop aimed at sharing and documenting of seed potato production and dissemination experiences: evaluating the current state of national potato seed systems, identification of their constraints and opportunities for improvements: and strengthening public-private partnerships for further development of the potato sub-sector.

This book documents the papers presented during the workshop. It is divided into six sections, covering the following topics: General papers, Rapid multiplication techniques, Seed agronomy, Participatory seed potato production, Crop protection, and Socio-economic aspects. While most of the papers were from Ethiopia, three papers are dealing with aspects of potato production in Eastern Africa and Kenya. Given the fact that farmer access to quality seed still constitutes the main bottleneck to increased potato productivity in Ethiopia and the region in general, the main thrust is on seed potatoes; presenting and discussing research and development topics covering the entire seed potato value chain. The book is the first of its kind to collect and analyze potato seed research and provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of the current state of seed potato production. It presents recent research findings, describes ongoing development activities, and outlines future directions for potato, especially seed potato, research and development in Ethiopia and the region. It is also believed to benefit development actors engaged in the promotion of the crops.

The editors would like to acknowledge the organizers of the conference. We are grateful to Dr. Derege Gorfu for reviewing the papers. We would also like to extend our appreciations to all those who presented papers and the participants of the workshop/conference for their valuable and critical contribution.

[EBOOK] Seed Potato Tuber Production and Dissemination (Experiences, Challenges and Prospects), Abebe Kirub, Published by EIAR and ARARI

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