Challenges and opportunities for quality seed potato availability and production in Uganda
Potato yields in Uganda have remained low at 7.5 t ha-1. This low yield is attributed to low yielding varieties, poor management practices and lack of quality seed potatoes among other factors. This study was conducted to ascertain the challenges and opportunities of quality seed potato availability and production in the southwestern highlands agro-ecological zone (SWHAEZ). A total of 15 farmer groups were randomly selected from a sample size of 200 farmers and individually interviewed. The results of study indicated that high transaction costs (43.5%), lack of clear seed delivery system (40.5%) and limited information on the source of seed (14.0%) were the main constraints limiting farmers’ access to and use of quality seed potato. Up to 93% of the farmers in SWHAEZ use home saved seed from previous harvests and conventional ware potato markets, whose quality is not guaranteed. Although over 70% of the farmers were convinced that quality of seed had a positive effect on yield increase, 72% of them still use poor quality seed often infected by bacterial wilt. In addition, 52% of the farmers lacked specific storage facilities for potato seed; and this further lowered the grade of the seed quality. However, a number of opportunities existed for production and access to quality seed including; various proven technologies for producing quality seed potato and ready demand for potato seed and ware potato. Of the seed potato production technologies, positive selected seed (PSS) seemed to have the highest quantity of seed; while basic seed produced heaviest tubers than the rest of the technologies.
Keywords: Quality seed potato, seed system and challenges
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