Rwanda Set to Release First New Potato Varieties in Almost Three Decades
The Rwandan authorities are preparing to release five new varieties with higher yield potential and greater resistance to late blight disease.
The potato is one of Rwanda’s most important crops, yet Rwandan farmers struggle to produce decent harvests, primarily because they grow low-yielding and disease-susceptible potato varieties, the International Potato Center (Cipotato) writes in a blogpost.
The new varieties will be the first released in Rwanda in almost 30 years. They are the product of a partnership between the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), with collaboration from farmers, universities, cooperatives and food-processing companies. Together they evaluated 21 CIP-bred potatoes over the course of two years and recommended five for release as varieties. The initiative was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth project.
According to Placide Rukundo, research coordinator of the RAB potato sub-program, the 21 potato clones that CIP shared with RAB were grown for several seasons at 10 sites scattered across Rwanda, to test their disease resistance and adaptation to the country’s varied climates and soils.