Rwanda ranks second in the world for potato consumption

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has urged stakeholders in the potato farming sector to strive to reach an annual production of 1.5 million tons. This target aims to satisfy domestic market demand and lower the currently high prices.

To increase the annual yield from the current 850,000 tons to the desired 1.5 million tons, the Ministry recommends farmers adopt high-quality seeds and enhance their agricultural practices.

Engaging with various potato farmers across the country reveals that while some achieve yields of 20 tons per hectare and even 30 tons in certain cases, the average yield remains at a mere 8 tons per hectare.

This yield gap is often due to farmers using outdated seeds, with some having used the same seeds for over 40 years, which hampers their ability to adapt to changing conditions.

Dr. Patrick Karangwa, the Director-General of Agricultural Development at the Ministry, advises farmers to procure certified seeds from reputable suppliers.

He stated, “The demand for potatoes is high, necessitating the use of quality seeds and proper farming techniques. There are instances where yields have reached 60 tons per hectare. It’s essential to prioritize seed quality and avoid planting old, ineffective seeds when high-quality alternatives are readily available from trusted breeders.”

Dr. Karangwa also dispels the misconception that quality seeds are prohibitively expensive. He explains that the cost of good seeds reflects their production expenses, and the yields they produce can be significantly higher than those from outdated traditional seeds.

Globally, over a billion people consume potatoes, and Rwanda ranks second in the world for potato consumption.

Potatoes are cultivated in 159 countries and are the fourth most consumed food worldwide, following wheat, maize, and rice.

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