Establishing a seed potato industry in Eastern Uganda
This document focuses on the challenges and opportunities in the potato industry in Uganda. Despite a favorable climate and increasing domestic demand, the sector faces limitations due to a small and fragmented seed potato industry. Only 34% of the national demand for seed potatoes is being met, and potato yields are well below the country's potential. To address this, the Mengya Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA) aims to establish itself as the first Integrated Seed Business in Eastern Uganda, capable of undertaking the entire seed multiplication process. MIFA recognizes farmers' need for clean seed potatoes, but many struggle to differentiate between seed potatoes and regular potatoes sold in local markets. The lack of access to affordable seed potatoes hampers the industry's growth. MIFA started producing Quality Declared Seeds in 2018 but faces challenges in sourcing basic seeds and timing production with local planting cycles. To establish a seed potato industry, MIFA plans to build capacity among member farmers and sell basic seed to other Local Seed Businesses, producing Quality Declared Seed. This mixed business model presents challenges but provides locally produced, affordable certified seed to Eastern Ugandan potato farmers. Building an Integrated Seed Business requires specific equipment, infrastructure, expertise, and land. MIFA aims to connect with plantlet suppliers, develop screenhouses, and establish diffused light storage facilities to maintain seed quality. A gravity-fed irrigation system will support year-round production, and packaging will include certification and traceability details. The partnership with REACH-Uganda and the Kween District Local Government includes road reconstruction to facilitate transportation. Through these efforts, MIFA aims to increase the production of Quality Declared Seed, improve yields, and enhance household resilience. The document outlines the progress made so far, such as the number of MIFA members involved, enhanced yields, and the utilization of irrigation systems. It also highlights the ongoing work establishing screenhouses and storage facilities and forging relationships with commercial plantlet suppliers.
Seed industry, Cash crops, Potatoes