24th January, 2019
In Rwanda, potato is a major food and cash crop grown throughout Rwanda. Most of its production is concentrated in the high altitude region. This region includes the highlands of volcanic soils. Buberuka and the Congo/Nile Divide located in Southwest and North of the Country. The Region accounts for more than 80% of the National Potato production, while the rest of the potatoes are produced under marginal cultivations throughout the country. In this region, potato serves as a staple food and main source of income.
Most of potato varieties grown in Rwanda such as Cruza, Gikungu, Kinigi, Kirundo, Mabondo, Mizero, Nderera, Ngunda, Sangema and Victoria were developed for table consumption about 30 years. With this regard, in 2013 the RAB Potato sub-program introduced 42 potatoe clones from the International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru. These clones were evaluated through clonal evaluation, preliminary yield trial, advanced yield trial and multi-location trials.
Among these clones, five clones (CIP393077.159, CIP396018.241, CIP398190.615, CIP393280. 64, and CIP393371.58) have showed high yield potential, processing traits, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses such as later blight and bacterial wilt and adaptation to Rwanda climate conditions and are better than local potato varieties. These clones can provide up to 34, 34, 5, 36, 34 and 40 tons/ha, respectively. These clones have been tested in 18 different sites located across the country. These are, two demonstration plots located at Musanze in kinigi, and Cyuve Sector and other sites located in Burera, Karongi, Nyabihu, Nyamagabe, Rulindo, Rutsiro, Rwamagana, Kayonza and Nyaruguru.
The evaluation of these new potatoe varieties was implemented by Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) and International Potato Center (CIP) supported by USAID through Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project (PSDAG). There has been also a partnership with two potato factories, cooperatives, INES University, farmers and seed companies.
The Potato Field and Variety Maning ceremony was honored by Hon. Minister-MINAGRI, DG-RAB, Local Government representatives, Development Partners, RAB Researchers, Stakeholders and Farmers at RAB –Musanze Station. The following five names were given to new five Irish potatoes released by farmers; Izihirwe, Twihaze, Kazeneza, Nkunganire and Ndeze. There was also a session of testing of the boiled, flied and processed potato varieties by the participants.