Photo: GIZ / Klaus Wohlmann
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Different countries, different needs but the same challenges – creating synergies is key to addressing common problems in order to improve the current situation. This also applies to the Green innovation centres for the agricultural and food sector run under the One World – No Hunger initiative. Taking the potato value chain as an example, our author demonstrates how exchange can be supported and mutual learning can be achieved.

The Green innovation centres for the agricultural and food sector are a focal area of the One World – No Hunger initiative run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In seven of the countries participating in the initiative, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is currently concentrating on the potato value chain. All of these projects deal with innovative measures to increase yield, generate employment in the sector and diversify the local food supply. In 2015, the working group on potatoes was founded to establish knowledge transfer and co-operation among the participating countries, including Germany (see Box at the end of the article).

Why potatoes? Extensively produced in the highlands of Africa and India, with a low level of irrigation or mechanisation for soil preparation, planting and harvesting, the potato is a high input and low output crop under current practices. Thus, potato production is becoming a less and less attractive source of income for young generations.

In East Africa, the potato is a staple crop, whereas in North and West Africa and India, it is mostly consumed as a vegetable.

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