Breakthrough as potato varieties guidelines launched in Dar

DAR ES SALAAM: TANZANIA, in collaboration with the Netherlands Embassy, recently launched a book of potato variety registration guidelines to promote prosperity and enhance food security.

After the launch, the books were distributed to breeders. Speaking during the launch of the potato variety registration guidelines book in Dar es Salaam last week, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Tanzania, Wiebe de Boer told the audience that this was a significant step towards improving potato variety production in the country.

“This journey has been shaped by a decade-long partnership between Tanzania and the Netherlands, attracting Dutch potato breeders to register their potato varieties in Tanzania,” he said.

This partnership has not only attracted vital investment in the potato variety value chain, but has also highlighted the immense potential of potatoes as a staple food source, ensuring food security, generating income for farmers, and creating employment opportunities.

Ambassador Boer emphasised that efficiency and productivity in potato farming require the use of quality seeds and sound agronomic practices to fuel the growth of the agricultural sector.

In the Netherlands, there are over 250 potato varieties cultivated for various uses, including boiling, French fries, crisps, baking, seed production, and starch processing.

Director General of the Tanzania Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) Dr Patrick Ngwediagi, stated that the guidelines book would assist farmers, local and foreign investors interested in potato production.

“The launch of this guidelines book is a significant milestone as it will help farmers understand the policies and laws governing the agricultural sector, as well as the challenges and opportunities available in the country,” he noted.

The book will guide farmers and innovators step-by-step through the process of registering their seeds in the country to produce quality seeds and ensure the growth of the agricultural sector.

Mr Bart Pauwels, the Agricultural Counsellor at the Netherlands Embassy, noted that the embassy would continue to collaborate with the government , NGOs, and the private sector to promote potato production.

For the past 10 years, Tanzania and the Netherlands have been collaborating in potato production, resulting in the registration of 16 potato varieties, 12 of which are Dutch varieties known for high yields, drought resistance, and pest resistance.

To further support the sector, the Netherlands Embassy is facilitating TOSCI in producing step-by-step guidance on the procedures for registering potato varieties for commercial purposes.

These guidelines have been endorsed by TOSCI for use in Tanzania. A delegation of 30 Dutch potato breeders, led by Mr Feico Bonn representing HZPC Dutch potato seeds breeding organisation, attended the launch.

The objective was to familiarise themselves with market needs, preferences, and receive feedback from farmers. This information will be used in research and the development of new varieties for Tanzania, providing valuable information for investors looking to register varieties in Tanzania.

As more varieties are registered, farmers have a wider choice, each with a unique purpose and usage. This also leads to increased access to and use of quality seed, attraction of local and international investments in seed potatoes, and an enabling environment for investments through clarity on procedures.

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