Sweet Potato Farmers Warned against Early Return to the Fields

3068 Views Kampala, Uganda
early return of the rains this month. The International Sweet Potato Breeding Center says that although the current demand for the crop is high, farmers should wait until March before sowing their seeds. Uganda is the third largest per capita producer of sweet potatoes in the world. According to data from the International Sweet Potato Breeding Center, Uganda produces 100 kilograms of potato per person every year. Silver Tumwesigire, an assistant sweet potato breeder at the International Sweet Potato Office in Naguru, says the current rains are not sufficient to sustain new crops. He cautions farmers to wait for a month before planting the high-yield potato variety that was recently distributed by the Namulonge National Agriculture Research Organization. Robert Mwanga, from Namulonge, says the highest yielding sweet potato varieties are still those grown in eastern Uganda. They are Naspot 5, ejumula, Kakamega and the yellow vita varieties. He says each of these have potential yields of 15,000 to 30,000 kilograms per hectare of crop. The sweet potato is a basic component of many Ugandans and the recent introduction of the Naspot 5 variety, which is high in vitamin A, has increased their demand. Sales figures from the Uganda Commodities Exchange put retail prices for sweet potatoes around the country at between 200 shillings to 600 shillings per kilo. Margaret Oniala, a vendor in Nakawa market, says a demand for more high-yielding potato varieties is necessary to meet the demand. She explains that with potatos from Soroti out of season, customers have had to make do with less attractive varieties from Busoga. //Cue in: iFor us as #i Cue out: i# seasonally.i//

 

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