Netherlands Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Introduction of new seed potato varieties

The Netherlands has officially introduced 3 new seed potato varieties to Tanzania with 11 more now going through registration procedures.

The Netherlands has officially introduced 3 new seed potato varieties to Tanzania with 11 more now going through registration procedures. The Dutch potato experts Jos van Meggelen (NVWA) and Yeray Saavendra (WUR CDI) together with Bert Rikken, Agricultural Counselor for Tanzania and Kenya and Theresia Mcha, Agricultural Officer at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tanzania travelled to Morogoro on the 15th of February 2017 to attend the official kick-off of the G2G potato project at Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Morogoro. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), TOSCI, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) and Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) Uyole were represented in this kick-off event.

The new seed potatoes are high-yielding European varieties and better equipped for the Tanzanian environment than the seed potatoes available now. Potato growers in Tanzania have been limited to increase the yield of potatoes per hectare and these new varieties are being introduced to potentially increase harvest from 10 to 40 tons per hectare.

Tanzania was chosen as a testing site, because it has huge potential to develop a productive and successful potato value chain. Tanzania has millions of hectares of suitable arable land and many areas have a tempered, potato friendly climate. The potato has increased in popularity in Tanzania and is in the top 5 of favorite food crops. Three varieties have already been introduced earlier (i.e. Jelly, Rumba and Sagitta) and now there’s eleven more in the TOSCI pipeline.

The launch is the next big landmark after the economic mission of the Dutch Minister of Agriculture Mr. Martijn van Dam and a business delegation to Tanzania mid last year, during which the Minister signed an agreement on seed potato importation requirements with the Government of Tanzania and a partnership with SAGCOT. The agreement stated the Netherlands’ intention to offer capacity building for Tanzanian institutes active in the seed potato registration.

The seed-potato project is made possible through the Government-to-Government program from Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). The program aims to improve the seed production system in Tanzania. This would lead to economic development as well as food security.

For more information about the potato project, please send an e-mail to dar-lnv@minbuza.nl.