Africa

How one sack of potatoes grew into vibrant business for an entrepreneurial Kenyan woman

In 1998 Irene Mwangi started peeling potatoes and delivering them to a food outlet in Nairobi. She never imagined the humble beginning in her business would grow into a thriving enterprise it is today. Ms Mwangi started with one sack of potatoes, and her business now now processes potatoes supplied to a number of fast food chains, schools and various institutions.

GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

Input suppliers, govt and industry stakeholders collaborate to boost yields of potato farmers in Kenya

In Kenya, potatoes are a key staple food, second only to maize. Yet its potato value chain has been underdeveloped for decades. This has been acknowledged by the Kenyan government. Over the past years, it has been investing in the potato sector in order to realize an increase of output per hectare and a growth in potato smallholders’ income. Last[Read More…]

CIP: Promoting nutrition-sensitive potato value chains in Kenya

Potato has underexploited potential to contribute to food security and incomes among Kenyan smallholders. This project builds on the past work of the International Potato Center (CIP) to increase the current low levels of productivity. It focuses on building the skills of farmers and other stakeholders to apply good agricultural practices and increase the availability of quality planting materials. The[Read More…]

'Quikgro': Potato varieties suited to sub-Saharan conditions

Potato is a key food and cash crop contributing both to food security and the local economy in Kenya, Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists from the James Hutton Institute in collaboration with the University of St Andrews in the UK are supporting an innovative research project aiming to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions[Read More…]

Potatoes South Africa and partners sign agreement to address challenges faced by 'new era' farmers

AFGRI Agri Services, Kagiso Trust (through the Tyala Impact Fund) andPotatoes South Africa this week signed a ground-breaking agreement aimed at addressing the major challenges faced by South Africa’s ‘new era’ farmers, according to a press release issued by Potatoes South Africa and partners. Some of these challenges include access to technical support, access to finance and access to markets.[Read More…]

CIP: Developing late blight resistant GMO potato varieties for Africa

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working in East Africa to breed GMO varieties of potatoes that combine three forms of resistance to late blight — the disease that can exact costly tolls on smallholding farmers. CIP states that the objective of the project is: “To develop and deliver bio-engineered potatoes completely resistant to late blight to reduce the costs[Read More…]

PepsiCo Egypt and USAID initiative garners increase in potato harvest

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings,” said Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese philosopher and farmer. For Egyptian potato farmers, this could not be any more true. For the past year, PepsiCo Egypt has been working to empower Egyptian farmers by supporting them through training programs aimed at providing[Read More…]

South African potato industry to have greater access to Mondial variety

South Africa’s potato production industry is set to gain from a settlement agreement approved recently by the Competition Tribunal (CompTrib), according to a report published by Farmers Weekly. This agreement, between Netherlands-based seed potato breeder, HZPC Holland (HZPC) and previous exclusive South African distributor of the company’s popular Mondial variety, Wesgrow Potatoes (Wesgrow), will lead to greater competition on the[Read More…]

PepsiCo boosts Ethiopia’s snack market with majority stake acquisition in local crisps producer

The Frito-Lay and Walkers Crisps maker has acquired a majority shareholding of Senselet Food Processing, an Ethiopian potato crisps company founded by Veris Investments in 2015. Veris claims Senselet has a leading market position in Ethiopia with its Sun Chips brand, which uses locally-sourced potatoes. The Netherlands-based private equity firm says it set up Senselet to contribute to the development[Read More…]

Earliest roasted root vegetables, similar to modern potatoes, found in 170,000-year-old cave dirt

Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real â€œpaleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes. “I think people were eating a very balanced diet, a combination of carbohydrates and proteins,” says team leader Lyn Wadley of the University of[Read More…]

Rwanda pilots ‘revolutionary’ potato seed produced by Dutch company

According to a report published by The New Times, the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has started testing True Potato Seed, which are produced by Solynta, a Dutch firm that develops hybrid potatoes. True Potato Seed (TPS) are collected from the berries or fruits of the potato plant. One of the benefits of such seed is that as opposed to using[Read More…]

Quack seed multipliers threaten Rwanda's potato production

Irish potato farmers and professional seed multipliers are crying foul over some individuals locally known as ‘Abamamyi’ who masquerade as multipliers and distribute fake seeds which leads to low yield. The problem is increasingly prevalent in Northern and Western provinces, a region where Irish potatoes are predominantly grown. Most of Irish potato farmers who spoke to The New Times expressed a common concern of[Read More…]

World Potato Congress Inc. announces new international advisor in Kenya

The World Potato Congress has announced that Mr. Wachira Kaguongo has accepted to become the World Potato Congress Inc.’s (WPC) newest International Advisor. Mr. Kaguongo is an agricultural economist currently working with the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK). He joined NPCK in 2011 and has been involved in its establishment, operationalization, strategy development and resource mobilization. Over the last[Read More…]

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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