The potato is the second most important food in East Africa.
Photo: © GIZ

The SEWOH global programme for the potato value chain

As part of the BMZ special initiative ‘One world – no hunger’ the global programme ‘Promoting nutrition-critical value chains in East Africa’ is underway in Kenya and Uganda. Together with local partners, it is supporting small-scale farmers in increasing their potato yields.

The potato is the second most important food after maize in Kenya, and a source of income for some 800,000 farmers, a third of them women. The potato is also an important basic food in Uganda. Its high yields, short growth cycles (90-120 days) compared to other crops, and its nutritional physiological properties make the potato important in meeting local food demands and strengthening food security.

The global programme ’Promoting nutrition-critical potato value chains in East Africa’ is carried out by GIZ on a commission of the German development ministry BMZ, and supports small-scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda in permanently increasing the yield and quality of their potato production. The programme is intended as a contribution towards improving nutrition of malnourished individuals and strengthening expertise-sharing in Kenya and Uganda.

The global programme is part of the special initiative ‘One world – no hunger’ (SEWOH) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Training in Kenya

The programme’s overarching goal is: the potential of a nutrition-critical potato value chain is utilised in selected regions of Kenya and Uganda. Besides coordinating the potato sector, the global programme – together with the Agricultural Extension Service and the International Potato Centre (CIP) – assists small-scale farmers in the Kenyan potato-growing regions Nyandarua and Bungoma to increase their potato yields and improve nutrition of malnourished people in rural areas.
In the process, farmers are trained in ‘good agricultural practice’. For this, the first ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) sessions were held in April 2017 with agricultural extension workers. Once qualified, the extension workers train groups of 25 farmers every season. In addition, the trained extension workers also train lead farmers who, in turn, train more farmers. By 2021 a total of 12,000 farmers will be trained in Kenya in this way. To improve the nutritional situation in rural areas, training will also be offered on improved hygiene, storage and conservative processing of foods. Finally, the programme promotes sharing of expertise between producers, processors, research and policy-makers at national level, with the aim of establishing a sustainable and permanent basis of innovative knowledge which will strengthen the sector.

Authors: Gert Reinberger and Karina Brenneis, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn, Germany

Moderation of the cross-border potato working group

The German Agricultural Society (DLG) was commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as strategic partner on the issue of the potato value chain. GIZ is currently working in seven countries on the potato-value-chain priority area.  In 2015 a cross-border working group was formed to strengthen ‘South-South’ exchange, knowledge management and cooperation. The working group has representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Tunisia and India. 

Expertise from Germany and Europe will also be incorporated in the project work and training (e.g. on phytophthora and direct marketing) will be organised in line with needs. DLG will assume moderation and technical coordination of the potato working group. Besides organising trade fair visits, e.g. to the Agritechnica fair in Hannover/ Germany in November, two potato-working-group meetings are scheduled for this year– the first was in mid-July in India (Hassan, Karnataka). The second meeting will be in Kenya in November

Author: Daniela Böhm, German Agricultural Society (DLG), Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

For more information:

Special initiative ‘One world – no hunger’ – SEWOH