CAPACITY BUILDING: A BASIS FOR TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION AND SUSTAINABLE POTATO PRODUCTION IN EASTERN AFRICA
Smallholder farmers in eastern Africa are resource poor, have low level or no formal education, use traditional methods of production and are often averse to adopt new technologies. Through two seed potato projects funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and USAID in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, capacity building was undertaken as a tool for improving stakeholders knowledge and skills for potato production and effective dissemination of potato technologies. Capacity building methods used included workshops, participatory research and extension, support in infrastructure, demonstrations, and on-site trainings that centered on learning-by-doing. The trainings given to researchers, the private sector and farmers focused on seed potato production and management, use of quality seed and postharvest technologies. In training ware potato farmers, emphasis was placed on simple positive selection (PS) techniques to help them improve and maintain the quality of own-saved seed potato. Over 2,800 seed potato growers and 34,000 ware potato farmers were trained during September 2008 and August 2011. Also trained were about 10 research staff and 15 aeroponics technicians, 800 extension agents and selected farmers who served as trainers to the potato farmers. The trainings resulted in rapid adoption of seed and ware potato production technologies and enhanced availability of and access to quality seed. Using the knowledge and technologies they acquired, seed producers obtained 2-5 times higher yields than the national average yields. Use of seed from PS on average increased yields in excess of 30%. About 150 diffused light stores with capacities ranging from 2-25 t were constructed with partial support by the projects and over 50 were constructed by farmers without support. The experience showed that farmers are fairly quick to learn, willing to adopt technologies that benefit them and invest in acquiring them.
Lemaga, B., Borus, D., Kakuhenzire, R., Woldegiorgis, G., Tibanyendera, D., Nshimiyimana, J., Schulte-Geldermann, E. and Barker, I. (2013). CAPACITY BUILDING: A BASIS FOR TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION AND SUSTAINABLE POTATO PRODUCTION IN EASTERN AFRICA. Acta Hortic. 1007, 649-655
quality seed potato, diffused light store, positive selection, extension agents