Potato Value Chain Development in West Africa (2007-2012)
Donors: Common Fund for Commodities
The main objective is to assist in the development of a potato value chain that is more competitive in West Africa in order to increase revenues of producers or enterprises involved in the value chain. A more competitive potato sector will have a positive impact on food security and the fight against poverty.
What we do:
The competitiveness of the West African potato industry depends on its ability to develop and maintain an edge over market rivals, especially consumption potato growers in Europe and the USA. The key innovation of the project was to introduce first steps of seed potato multiplication in the highlands of Guinea, which would take advantage of the prevailing favorable agro-climatic conditions necessary for such purposes. The regionally produced seed material would serve for potato production in Guinea as well as for potato farmers in neighboring Senegal, which currently constitutes the biggest potato market in West Africa. Significantly lower costs of seed potatoes - that account for up to 60% of production costs - together with improved production techniques and efficient linkages with markets would significantly improve the competitive position of regionally produced potatoes over imports.
The project successfully ended on June 30, 2013. As per the final evaluation conclusions (FAO, May 2013), the project met all the initial objectives and opened the door for sustainable exchanges between Guinea, Senegal, and other neighboring countries.
More specifically, the project established that:
- Guinea can successfully produce high quality, high yielding potato seeds and ware potatoes that can be competitively sold on the local or regional markets (e.g. Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone);
- Unlike most neighboring countries, Guinea can have up to three potato producing seasons, a major advantage for potato conservation needs;
- Varieties produced in Guinea come from potato seeds initially purchased from Holland (AGRICO); Guinean farmers can use those Elite or Class A seeds to produce their own class B, class C and even class D seeds, that retain the properties and vigor of the original class A;
- Major Senegalese potato producer associations have successfully introduced the AGRICO varieties also grown in Guinea. They are willing to expand seed purchasing from Guinean producers. Senegalese researchers are working closely with Guinean counterparts for certification of seeds and ware potatoes in Guinea.