The members of the delegation particularly appreciated sharing practical knowhow.
Photo: © giz / Simon Hoerhold

German-African knowledge sharing at PotatoEurope 2014

A delegation of experts from Kenya and Nigeria reported on current developments and trends regarding the potato value chain on a trip organised by the German Food Partnership.

In early September 2014, 13 Kenyan and six Nigerian representatives from ministries of agriculture, research institutes, agriculture and industry came to Germany to take a look at current developments and trends concerning the potato value chain among German companies and at the international PotatoEurope 2014 trade fair in Bockerode, near Hanover in Northern Germany. The trip was organised by the Potato Initiative Africa of the German Food Partnership (GFP). Both expert talks, visits to agricultural enterprises involved in seed potato production and the cultivation of table potatoes and potatoes for processing as well as tours of enterprises and co-operatives operating in the field of potato sorting and storage were on the agenda. Here, the visitors gained a first-hand impression of a well-structured value chain  in Germany’s potato industry. 

At the 2014 PotatoEurope trade fair, which was organised by the German Agricultural Society (Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft – DLG), the participants first of all visited the partner firms of GFP Potato Initiative Africa K+S KALI, Solana, Europlant, Bayer CropScience, Lemken, Grimme and Syngenta. Short lectures and talks provided the African visitors with an overview of options for sustainable potato cultivating and entrepreneurial activities in the African continent. During the subsequent two-hour Match and Meet, organised by DLG, the participants shared information and views with around 30 European companies from four countries. The latter came from the fields of processing and storing, potato breeding, fertilising and crop protection as well as technologies for potato processing.
Explaining the considerable interest taken by both sides, Daniel Waithaka Mwangi, Governor of Kenya’s Nyandarua Province, said: “Potato yields in Kenya are four to five times lower than in Europe. We urgently need international companies that are willing to share their knowhow with us and invest in our markets. We have already established links with seed, fertiliser and pesticide and herbicide producers at the fair and during the trip. We can only get somewhere by co-operating with these firms.” 

Both the Kenyan and the Nigerian visitors showed a great interest in seed from new potato varieties. Farmers in Nigeria and Kenya have been growing potatoes for decades. However, the seed they use has largely lost its performance potential. Industrial potato varieties for crisps, chips or cornflour are not available. Summing things up, Dr. Daniel Musa Lenka, who is responsible for research on improvements in potato production at the National Root Crop Research Institute in Nigeria, says: “We need the knowhow of experienced companies to establish new varieties for table potatoes and for processing. We also want to acquire knowledge about efficient cultivating and harvesting methods as well as storage and processing. We would therefore like to co-operate with international companies, so that they can share their innovations and their experience with us and invest in our country. The German Food Partnership has opened this door for us.”

PotatoEurop is a specialist trade show held in Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands alternatively each year. The organisers for the venue in Germany are DLG e.V.

The German Food Partnership (GFP) is a public-private initiative aimed at reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries and emerging economies. Currently, more than 30 medium-sized enterprises and corporations, associations, including the DLG, and implementing organisations of German development co-operation are participating in the GFP, which was founded in 2012 under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ). Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been commissioned by the BMZ to co-ordinate GFP activities. 

Matthias Radek, giz; E-Mail: matthias.radek(at)