Local seed potato research promising in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Potato Micro-propagation Association (ZPMA) has spearheaded the resuscitation of seed potato production since this stalled around 2008. The current mandate is to substitute imported seed potato with locally-grown varieties in order to save foreign currency, provide local jobs and to safeguard against the importation of devastating diseases such as PIN and new strains of common diseases like early and late blight.

The seed multiplication program commenced during the second half of the year 2019.

As at June 30, 2020, a total of 376 981(9,4 hectares) Diamond variety (G1-G3) seed potato tubers and 65 122 (1,5 hectares) of Hermes variety (G1) had been produced. Later in the year 2020, commercial seed (Diamond G4) was already available on the market. Then, production spread to growers in Norton, Centenary, Goromonzi, Kadoma, Mazowe/Concession, Mvurwi, Norton and Hwedza.

At the end of June 2021, the hectarages for the different seed classes and varieties were as follows; Gi (Diamond - 4 hectares, Hermes - 5 hectares); G2 (Diamond - 6 hectares) and G3 (Diamond - 36 hectares, Hermes - 10 hectares).

Thus, the total area under seed potatoes was 61 hectares. Activities under the ZPMA continued to expand with 18 new seed potato growers being recruited to cater for the increased hectarage required for G3 and G4 seed potato production which resulted in operations growing to areas such as Lalapanzi, Gweru, Mwenezi, Middle-Sabi, Mhangura, and Mt. Darwin.

Source: herald.co.zw


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