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Sweetpotato Project Comes to FUNAAB

Feb 01 2016   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

This article is being published with permission from the public relations department of the 

Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Nigeria (FUNAAB): http://www.unaab.edu.ng/

 

 

Sweetpotato Project Comes to FUNAAB

 The Sweetpotato for Health and Wealth in Nigeria, a project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and implemented by the International Potato Centre in six states, namely: Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, and Osun, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is now in the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

 

During the test-running exercise of baking bread with Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) Puree,  the Project Food Scientist, Dr. Ganiyat Olatunde, of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), stated that the main objective behind the idea was to build a community of practice that would effectively help to reduce food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty in Nigeria, by leveraging on the benefits of OFSP, as well as improving market opportunities for the various types of sweetpotato. The test was supervised by Antonio Magnaghi, Tawanda Muzhingi and Dr. Justus Manje of the International Potato Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, while the  other implementing institutions are the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike (NRCRI); the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro and the Helen Keller International (HKI).

 

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Dr. Olatunde, who revealed the market characterization of the project, said even though several varieties of sweetpotato were produced and supplied in large quantities to markets across Nigeria, the OFSP variety was still in short supply. According to her, “Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), has been working with selected enterprises to establish process and quality parameters for bread and sweetpotato crisps while its economic viability is also being documented”. She said that technical research had shown that substituting wheat flour in bread with up to 30 percent OFSP puree, gave acceptable level of loaf and sensory properties, adding that through adaptive research with one of the enterprises in Abuja, sweetpotato crisps from OFSP roots were now being sold in markets across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and was in high demand and that work was going on to include OFSP roots in other baked and fried products. Dr. Olatunde said that FUNAAB was one of the collaborating partners playing the role of developing value-added products from OFSP, due to the advantages it had over other potato species and there are two different stages: product development and commercial viability of the product.

 

 

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 The project is being coordinated by an Agricultural Economist and the Principal Investigator, Professor Adewale Dipeolu, who said there was some supply of the OFSP in some locality in Ogun State. Professor Dipeolu, who is the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS) of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), highlighted some economic benefits of OFSP to include the quality of being converted into puree for the baking of bread, cakes and pastries.  The Principal Investigator said that some people also use the OFSP to garnish their rice before eating, while some eat it directly. On where OFSP would be in the next five years, the don stated that agriculture was bound to be the ‘oil’ of the nation’s economy, saying that there should be alternatives just as cassava bread, hence there should be sweetpotato bread, sweetpotato juice, among others. 

 

 



All communications with this email account are bound by the policies and laws of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Kindly go to the http://www.unaab.edu.ng/policy to view details

CIP drone study over sweetpotato fields of East Africa a success

Jan 28 2016   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

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MWANZA, Tanzania — Flying a specially equipped drone, a team of CIP researchers from South America and Africa has successfully used remote-sensing technology to obtain data on orange-fleshed sweetpotato fields in East Africa.

 

The joint study ran for two weeks from late April through early May in Tanzania, where the sweetpotato is increasingly grown by smallholder farmers. Initial image-processing and other analysis of the drone data were completed recently back at CIP-Lima.

 

“The quality of the data taken was great, and discrimination of land uses and the estimation of the area for each use were achieved with high accuracy,” said Roberto Quiroz, project leader at CIP-Lima.

 

The goal of the field study was to validate a low-cost, effective method of monitoring sweetpotato crops. The study was part of a larger project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to get more detailed information than satellites can give on crops, including accurate production statistics, onset of diseases and pest infestations, and the effects of climate change.

 

Such information is key to combatting hunger and helping smallholder farmers make decisions about what crops to grow and when. Researchers hope the remote-sensing system they are developing will be applicable to other crops eventually, too, throughout the developing world.

 

The Africa project built on work done in Peru by CIP researchers to combine agricultural and aerial technology. It followed an October 2014 workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, aimed at forming a Community of Practice for UAVs and agricultural remote sensing in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Although tested in the lab and over experimental fields in Peru, the flights in Tanzania were the first tests under real-world conditions.

 

“After hundreds of test missions in Peru in both experimental stations and farms, we were very sure the drone and the sensors were ready for field missions in East Africa,” Quiroz said.

 

Susan Palacios, an image-processing specialist with CIP-Lima who supervised the drone flights in Tanzania, said the team achieved its proof-of-concept mission.

 

“Our trip was successful, because we tested our knowledge and experiences working in a real field,” Palacios said. “Another important thing is the experience gained. Now we have more information about what it’s like to work in that region and what kind of improvements we need for our acquisition system in software and hardware.”

 

Among other distinguishing features of the project was its “South-South” collaborative nature — involving experts from Latin America and Africa working together to harness a combination of new technologies to benefit smallholder farmers throughout the tropics.

 

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To the Lake Zone

 

The setting for the field study was the rural landscape of the Mwanza region of northern Tanzania, some 200 kilometers west of Serengeti National Park. Mwanza is one of three regions that make up the nation’s “Lake Zone” along the southern end of Lake Victoria, the largest lake by area in Africa. Some 12 million farmers work their fields in the Lake Zone to feed their families and earn whatever income they can. These farmers produce more sweetpotato than anywhere else in Tanzania, according to government officials.

 

After flying from Peru to Kenya, the Lima team members joined other experts from Nairobi and drove to Mwanza city, the capital of Mwanza region and Tanzania’s second largest city.

 

They carried with them an Oktokopter XL, an-eight propeller UAV similar to the one flown in the earlier research in Peru. But this one had been assembled in Kenya by team member Arnold Bett, a technologist with the University of Nairobi. (The CIP researchers had received permission to fly the drone on farms in Tanzania but were unable to gain permission for flights in Kenya or Uganda.)

 

Crops in the Lake Zone had just come through an unusual months-long drought during the growing season. Some rain had recently resumed, but fields of such staple crops as maize and rice appeared stunted or dead. Because sweetpotato can grow with intermittent rain, it had fared much better, local agriculturists said.

 

Over the next week and a half the CIP team ventured out on daily trips into the Lake Zone, meeting with government officials, scientists and farmers to explain the project. After obtaining approval from individual farmers, they gathered data on several farms on the ground and in the air.

 

Briefing researchers at LZARDI

 

On their first day in the field, the team met with scientists at the Lake Zone Agricultural Research and Development Institute (LZARDI), in Ukiriguru. Part of Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, LZARDI is an agricultural research and promotion agency that focuses on many crops.

 

Adolfo Posadas, leader of the mission and data processing, explained the goals of the project. He told the LZARDI scientists that as CIP brought the project’s various remote-sensing and aerial technologies together, team members were simultaneously developing a wide range of open-source products — from software for programming flights and processing post-flight images, to instructions for assembling commercially available drones and sensors.

 

“The principal outcome of this project will be to transfer all of this technology so it is freely available to the next user,” said Posadas, who is currently based at CIP-Nairobi. That would cut costs significantly, even though a commercial UAV would still be needed.

 

Next, Elijah Cheruiyot, GIS and remote-sensing expert based at CIP-Nairobi, explained the steps the CIP researchers would take in each sweetpotato field. These included measuring the crop’s coverage area and obtaining images using a variety of sensors at different altitudes.

 

“The drone is just a platform on which we carry our sensors,” Cheruiyot said.

 

Eventually, the researchers hope, images obtained by drone will be superimposed over larger-scale images from satellites to provide better detail on nationwide crop production than currently possible or affordable.

 

The LZARDI researchers expressed support and asked several technical questions, then pointed out on a map some possible farm sites where the CIP-led team might gather data.

 

In a serendipitous surprise, a LZARDI field just a few meters from the conference room proved to be an excellent starting place. That’s because the field contained 14 varieties of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) growing side-by-side in different sections. In one place, the CIP researchers could gather a large amount of data about many varieties they had hoped to study.

 

Within the hour, they were out in that field.

 

The drone flights

 

First, they rolled out a long, white measuring tape to mark off rectangular sections of the field. At each of the four corners they drove markers into the ground, taking specific GPS coordinates for each.

 

Meanwhile, Bett and Luis Silva, a drone pilot and electromechanic based at CIP-Lima, readied the drone, adding propellers, sensors and other finishing touches.

 

Among the parts they attached was a small black plastic case that secured a multispectral camera to the drone. The case had been custom designed by Silva in Lima, the design data emailed to Bett, and the physical case constructed by a three-dimensional printer in Bett’s lab in Nairobi. This method for producing the case was an example of the kinds of technologies that could be freely available to farmers.

 

Next, Silva flew the Oktokopter XL smoothly over the field as directed by Palacios. The first flight was with a standard Canon camera and the second was with the multispectral camera, purchased from Tetracam Inc.

 

The multispectral camera captures and measures light at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. That’s important because each plant variety has a small but measurable difference in the wavelength of light it reflects when in sunlight — a kind of distinctive “signature.” Measuring this spectral signature in field conditions in Africa can help researchers identify from the air whether a crop is sweetpotato, cassava or something else. It can also help them identify what variety of OFSP the crop is.

 

What’s more, this spectral signature may reveal whether individual sweetpotato plants are thriving and likely to produce many storage roots or whether they are stressed by drought, have a nutritional deficiency or are under attack by a virus or insect. Such changes can be detected in multispectral images before they can be seen in the visible spectrum, scientists say.

 

Getting spectral signatures with the drone is a key part of the CIP-led remote-sensing project — building what the researchers call a “spectral library” containing signatures for each variety of OFSP.

 

During each of Silva’s flights, the drone hovered above the field taking images at different altitudes, ranging from 5 to 100 meters. This information will help the team determine how close to the plant canopy the drone must fly to get the best images for analysis and to design the methodology for fusing images taken from drone- and satellite-based platforms.

 

Finally, team members walked the field measuring reflectance of the OFSP varieties at close range.

 

Thunder rumbled far to the west, and soon the storm rolled over the field and forced the team back into the vehicles, ending that day’s fieldwork.

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Reaction from local residents

 

One of the questions the researchers had on their minds was how local farmers would respond when asked if the CIP team could fly a drone over their crops and obtain images for analysis. The day after their work at the LZARDI field ended, they ventured into more remote regions of the Lake Zone to find out — and were pleasantly surprised.

 

A typical experience came in a field near the village of Ikoma.

 

After a two-hour drive, much of it on pitted dirt roads, the CIP team, accompanied by LZARDI scientists and local agriculture officials, parked along a vast stretch of sweetpotato fields. Among the vehicles, one stood out: a bright orange Toyota Hilux pickup truck. The truck, which carried the drone, was nicknamed “Sasha” after the acronym for CIP’s Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) project painted in big white letters on its sides along with the words “for profit and health.”

 

The view of the site could have made for a scenic postcard. Deep green sweetpotato plots stretched for kilometers in all directions, covering a slight slope dotted with thatched-roof huts and rocks that resembled small elephants in color and shape. The day was hot, and bright puffs of clouds floated across a crystal blue sky.

 

Within a few minutes, several farmers gathered around, and after a brief discussion they agreed to allow the flights. While some team members took to the field with the measuring tape, others pulled the drone out of Sasha and began the assembly.

 

Every so often a group of 10 to 30 cattle shuffled up the dirt road, accompanied by two or three men walking swiftly behind them with sticks, whistling. A constant parade of people walked or bicycled up or down the road, some carrying crops or stacks of wood.

 

Many stopped to see what was happening. Before long, a crowd of three dozen men, women and children of all ages had gathered around Sasha, and a dozen bicycles rested on their sides not far from the drone as Bett and Silva fitted it with sensors. The villagers watched intently — curious, chatting and often laughing.

 

Eventually, after a long planning discussion among team members, Silva piloted several flights of the drone above the field to gather data.

 

Afterward, most of the villagers lingered to watch the team disassemble the drone and pack it away in Sasha. They crowded around a laptop computer to watch aerial videos of the fields taken by a second drone — one piloted by Caleb O’Brien, a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), USA.

 

O’Brien was using an MU drone to produce a film documenting the story of the OFSP and the promise that remote-sensing holds for helping smallholder farmers around the world.

 

“It was important to document the process because these are new technologies that we want to share with other potential developers and users in Africa,” said Corinne Valdivia, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at MU. As part of the UAV and remote-sensing project, Valdivia is studying how these technologies become part of the toolbox for key decision-makers. “They will be instrumental in finding the pathways for reproducing and adapting the technologies for use in their own countries.”

 

Quiroz, who kept in daily contact with the CIP team from his office in Lima, was pleased with the reaction the team received from the Tanzanians in the field.

 

“After struggling to get the permit to fly, we were excited about the possibility of seeing the response of the local people to this flying gismo with a weird-looking camera,” he said. “The warm welcome of local professionals and inhabitants to the visitors and their gadgets dissipated the doubts I had.”

 

Improving crop estimates

 

In the next several days the CIP team gathered drone-based data from other OFSP fields as well as fields of sweet pepper, cassava, sorghum, cotton, rice and maize. The team returned to Kenya for days of data pre-processing, after which the Lima part of the team flew home.

 

In an interview before the team left Tanzania, Everina Lukonge, a plant breeder at LZARDI and one of the many scientists who helped the CIP team, said the OFSP was becoming more important in the Lake Zone than ever before, partly because of its ability to produce even under the recent dry weather conditions. And she noted how remote-sensing would be an improvement over the current rough estimates made by crop statisticians.

 

“Using this drone, they will know exactly the real area for a certain crop which is grown,” Lukonge said. “When the statistics are not known, you cannot estimate even production. If you have this data, it means you can estimate the food. Maybe next season there is hunger. Maybe there is a bumper crop, (so you) look for a market. It can help in planning and budget allocation.”

 

Now that the CIP researchers have demonstrated the drone-based system’s capability to acquire accurate, high-quality information in real-world conditions, they hope to obtain permission from Kenya and Uganda to fly above other farms so they can expand the study, Quiroz said.

 

“We just need a permanent permit to move back in and help the local bureau of statistics and other authorities to generate the data they need for improving the quality of agricultural statistics,” he said.

By William Allen 

 

 

 

 

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  • William Allen is an assistant professor of science journalism in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri-Columbia and in the Missouri School of Journalism.

 

A collection of pictures from the CIP field project is available here.

 

 

 

The 2016 African Potato Association Meeting – Call for Abstracts

Jan 28 2016   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

2016 10th Triennial African Potato Assocaition CoNFERENCE

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - 9-13th October 2016

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS NOW OPEN

 

The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the International Potato Center (CIP) will co-host the 10th Triennial Conference of the African Potato Association in Ethiopia. The conference will run from October 9th to 13th, 2016 in Addis Ababa at the ECA Conference Center.

 

Close to 200 participants including researchers, development practitioners, policy-makers and entrepreneurs are expected to attend the conference to exchange knowledge and experiences on potato and sweetpotato. Local and international private sector representatives will have the opportunity to explore potential investment opportunities in potato and sweetpotato-based agribusinesses. The APA Conference will provide room for researchers to present their latest findings, organize panel discussions with relevant stakeholders and to strengthen cooperation in the sector to continue to grow the potato and sweetpotato success story in Africa.

 

In particular, the APA 2016 Triennial Conference will be an opportunity to reflect on Ethiopian experiences and achievements in the potato and sweet potato sector. After the 4-day conference, participants will be invited to participate in field visits to selected locations in the country to see potato and sweetpotato initiatives and their impact on the ground. Participants will also appreciate their share of the richness, beauty and history of Ethiopia during these trips.

 

The CALL for ABSTRACTS for this upcoming APA 2016 is now open!

 

Scholarships for African researchers and innovative famers are available so be sure to submit an abstract to be considered.
The deadline for submission of Abstracts is February 29th, 2016!
Please follow this link for submitting an Abstract: http://www.africanpotatoassociation.org/registration

Stay up to date with the APA2016 by visiting the APA website, following APA_Secretariat on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.  Watch highlights from the APA2013 meeting held in Kenya here.

 Call for Abstracts Webversion

 

CIP signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Georgia promising a more food secure future for the potato consuming country

Jan 26 2016   |   By: joel-ranck   |   0   |  

Lima, Peru -- In partnership with the Government of Georgia and its Ministry of Agriculture, the International Potato Center (CIP) has embarked upon an ambitious project to support expansion and diversification of the country’s potato crop, as well as that of the Central Asia and Caucuses region.

 

Government officials are expected to meet with CIP’s Director General, Dr. Barbara H. Wells this week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will officially launch the project.

 

 “CIP’s presence in Georgia will help support cutting-edge research into resilient potato varieties, develop new methods of distribution of both seeds and crops, and generate meaningful data around baseline potato production and increased income for farmers,” says Dr. Rusudan Mdivani, Regional Liaison and Potato Scientist for Central Asia Regional Operations at CIP. “We are committed to working with the appropriate authorities to enhance disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance and bio-fortification in the national potato supply by sharing our accumulated knowledge around water conservation, integrated crop management and production both in greenhouses and in the field.”

 

The region’s reliance on potato cannot be underestimated. Looking specifically at Georgia, where most dishes include potato in one form or another, potato is considered a primary crop (along with cereals and vegetables). In the country’s Northwestern and Southern regions, the area under potato cultivation varies between 38 000-40 000 ha annually, but productivity remains low. In fact, with potato yields ranging from 8.9 to 12 t/ha (average data of the last ten years), Georgia is among the countries with the lowest yield.  In general, production is only three or four times higher than the amount of seed planted.

The five-year plan, commencing this year and expected to conclude in 2021, seeks to boost yield commensurate with population growth while building more climate-smart techniques and innovative mechanization practices into potato-cultivation methods – all of which can improve farmers’ annual income.

 

“Securing relationships with countries like Georgia is critical in reaching impact at scale,” says CIP Director General Dr. Barbara H. Wells. “Georgia is a country that already consumes significant amounts of potato so any improvements to potato nutrition and yield will undoubtedly improve the food security and nutrition in the country.”

 

Prof. Dr. Levan Ujmajuridze, Director of LEPL Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture for Georgia, said he was delighted that the MoU formalized an ongoing relationship with CIP that would bring innovation and technical capacity to Georgia and that both organizations could benefit from learning from each other.

 

The project will mark the establishment of CIP’s 19th host country agreement globally. Its primary goals will be:

  • Strengthen capacity for potato production at the regional level
  • Serve as a resource for germplasm distribution throughout the region
  • Implement methods of high quality seed production and distribution
  • Conduct research into potato varieties that are nutrient-dense, late blight-resistant and high-yielding
  • Train farmers in multi-cropping, conservation and other climate-smart techniques

The opening of the new CIP center in Georgia and the establishment of these goals are tenets of CIP’s “Agile Potato for Asia” program, which aims to develop more sustainable intensification of agricultural practices as it also supports research into potato varieties better able to withstand climate extremes such as drought or flooding, as well as varieties with greater nutritional value – such as increased levels of micro nutrients, iron and zinc – to support a healthier population of potato consumers.

 

The International Potato Center, known by its Spanish acronym CIP, was founded in 1971 as a root and tuber research-for-development institution delivering sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources. CIP is a global center, with headquarters in Lima, Peru and offices in 20 developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Working closely with our partners, CIP seeks to achieve food security, increased well-being, and gender equity for poor people in the developing world. CIP furthers its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology, and capacity strengthening regarding root and tuber farming and food systems.

 

CIP is part of the CGIAR Consortium, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. Donors include individual countries, major foundations, and international entities.

Assessing the impact of Cooperation-88 potatoes in China

Jan 25 2016   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

Original Post: http://www.rtb.cgiar.org/assessing-impact-cooperation-88-potatoes-china/

 

Potatoes came to China in the early 1600s but were not a major crop until the 1980s. By 1993, China became the world’s largest potato producer, and in 2014, it produced 96 million metric tons – twice as much as India, the second largest producing country[i]. This significant growth in potato production highlights how important potatoes have become in China. This importance is driven by income growth and rapid changes in consumer demand.

Since early 2013, the Chinese government has refined their food security strategy and has been promoting potato as a new staple crop to improve food security and water shortages throughout the country[ii]. Because potatoes have a long storage life and use limited water in production, all while remaining a nutritious option, potato research is now a priority.

As part of the Chinese potato breeding program, several varieties have been produced to increase potato yield while reducing the impact of main biotic constraints in potato production – the most important being late blight.

One of those varieties is Cooperation-88 (C88) which was developed through a collaboration between the International Potato Center (CIP) and Yunnan Normal University (YNU), with the goal of breeding a high quality, late blight resistant variety that tastes good[iii]. In 1996, C88 was named and released as a cultivar. By 2009, it covered 186,667 hectares and was the most widely grown variety in Yunnan[iii]. C88 is now grown in four provinces: Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizghou, and Guanshi.

Current estimated adoption rates of C88 by season in Yunnan

 Season  Estimated Adoption Rate (%)
 Early Spring  27
 Late Spring  17
 Autumn  8
 Winter  56

Source: SIAC Expert Panel in Yunnan on March 10, 2015

It is evident from the high adoption rates that C88 has made an economic impact. The variety is expected to benefit adopting farmers in the form of higher yield (due to its late blight resistance property) and price, which in turn should increase farm income and household food security.

The Project

To measure the impact of C88, a collaborative effort funded by the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment with additional funding from The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), was undertaken by CIP, Virginia Tech (VT), and YNU. Previous studies estimated the adoption of C88 but none rigorously quantified the impact.

The study objectives are to verify previous adoption estimates of C88 in Yunnan, and determine the economic benefits C88 has had on consumers and producers in China.

A random household and a community survey conducted in Yunnan were used to gather information about potato production. The purpose of the household survey was to collect information on potato production and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of potato-producing households. The community survey was used to verify the data from the household survey at the village level and to estimate the yields and cost of production for C88 compared to alternative potato varieties.

Junhong Qin, Research Assistant, CIP, surveys a local potato farmer.

From July to early September 2015, a research team from YNU, CIP and VT interviewed 616 farmers in 41 villages. Interviews with value chain actors, such as potato chip processors and wholesalers, were also conducted.

A First Look at the Results

When finished, this project will paint a picture of potato farmers in Yunnan and what influences their decisions to adopt potato varieties. This will inform researchers such that new varieties that meet producer needs can be developed and disseminated more efficiently. The more qualitative results from the value-chain study will also provide feedback to potato researchers and policy makers on constraints faced by farmers in C88’s value-chain.

A major constraint to the adoption of C88 that the survey uncovered is a lack of seed markets. Many farmers grow one variety until another is introduced. They do not generally purchase new seeds of the same variety. Instead, they completely replace one variety for another. As seed quality degrades, production suffers because quality seed potatoes are not available.

Farmers preferred C88 because of its high yield and high quality, which leads them to receive a higher price.

While C88 has many positive traits, the two major problems reported by farmers were decreasing yields as the seed stock ages and late maturity. Although C88 is late blight resistant, it is still affected by late blight because it matures later than other varieties and may still be in the fields as moisture appears. Farmers are beginning to replace C88 with varieties that mature earlier because late blight does not become a major concern until later in the season. However, potato processors value C88 tubers and recognize the importance of the variety to the rapidly expanding processed chip industry.

C88’s value-chain is comprised of two main markets: chip processing and fresh consumption. Medium-sized tubers go to chip processors who prefer C88 over most varieties due to its low water content, high starch, and medium sized tubers. One chip processor reported a shortage of C88 and thus, the need to resort to another variety to supplement his processing business. Larger tubers are destined to the fresh market, and mainly found in large restaurants, such as those in hotels; savvy consumers prefer C88’s taste and quality.

What’s next?

The next steps are to analyze the household and community data to supplement the qualitative findings. This will allow researchers to determine the adoption rate of C88 in Yunnan Province, identifying factors that affect farmers’ adoption decision of C88, and estimating the economic impact of C88 in China. The various research methods, mentioned above, will provide feedback to researchers on the importance of potato research to China and C88’s impact on farmers, consumers, and China.

China is also set to host the first World Congress on Root and Tuber Crops, due to take place in Nanning, Guangxi province from 18 – 22 January 2016. The Congress will bring together the world’s foremost experts in the field to share advice, review scientific progress, and identify and set priorities for future research, along with raising awareness of the global importance of root and tuber crops like potato.

This blog was contributed by Stephanie Myrick, Jeffrey Alwang and Catherine Larochelle from Virginia Tech, and Guy Hareau and Willy Pradel from the International Potato Center. 

[i] FAOSTAT. (2015). Top 20 Commodities by Country.

[ii] China Daily. (2015, January 8). Potato upgraded as new staple crop.

[iii] Li, C., Wang, J., Chien, D. H., Chujoy, E., Song, B., & VanderZaag, P. (2010). Cooperation-88: A High Yielding, Multi-Purpose, Late Blight Resistant Cultivar Growing in Southwest China. American Journal of Potato Research.

 

Original Post: http://www.rtb.cgiar.org/assessing-impact-cooperation-88-potatoes-china/