Sweet potato multipliers decreased from 95 to 47 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rwanda is seeking to increase sweet potato production from eight to 30 tonnes per hectare using six new varieties so as to replace wheat in baking and thus cut imports, Jean Ndirigwe, a sweet potato breeder at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB), said.
Rwanda has started to look for alternative sources of wheat imports following hefty trade sanctions on its major supplier, Russia. Prior to the sanctions, Rwanda heavily depended on Russia for wheat imports, with at least 64 per cent of the country’s wheat coming from Russia. However, Russia is now facing export and import sanctions as a consequence of its military incursion into Ukraine, which has disrupted this supply.
Jan Low, a principal scientist with the International Potato Center (CIP), said that if Rwanda invests in increasing sweet potato yields, it could replace wheat at between 30 per cent and 60 per cent in baking factories.
Rwanda Turns to Sweet Potatoes As Wheat Flour Baking Substitute