Review of Potato Research and Development in Ethiopia: Achievements and Future Prospects

Abebe Chindi Degebasa


Root crops are good sources of food, cash and foreign exchange for the majority of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. Among root and tuber crops, potato is an important food and cash crop in Eastern and Central Africa, playing a major role in national food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and income generation, and provides employment in the production, processing and marketing sub-sectors. In Ethiopia, potato production has increased during the “Meher” season as a result of improved varieties, being tolerant to major potato disease, late blight especially in the areas of major potato growing regions of the country. It is a short cycle crop with three to four months cropping cycle, are well suited to double cropping particularly in rain-fed systems and has significant advantage over grain crops which require relatively longer time to mature. Its short growing cycle allows for flexible planting and harvesting times and also permits quick production of foods to augment “hunger months” of August to October before grain harvests when people lack sufficient food to meet their basic caloric and nutritional requirements. The potato crop is cheap but nutritionally rich staple foods that contribute carbohydrates, protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, iron and minerals which alleviate the problem of malnutrition in subsistence farming areas and towards the dietary demands of the country‘s fast-growing towns and cities. Another advantage of this crop is that, it is largely traded locally and nationally, as opposed to internationally. The crop is far less susceptible to large-scale market shocks and price speculations experienced by more widely traded staples, such as grains, during international market crises. As such, it contribute to a more stable food system, maintain nutritional and food security, and are a predictable source of income. To exploit the potential benefit of this valuable crops as food and nutrition security, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EIAR) through its implementing federal and regional research centers has been conducting several research and development activities on potato since its establishment in 1966. Since then several technologies have been released, demonstrated and popularized for the larger farming community in the country. The objective of this paper is, therefore, to review potato research and development outputs obtained so far, potentials and opportunities as well as challenges and research gaps for potato production and productivity in the country.

Keywords: Potato; food & nutrition security; achievements; technologies; Ethiopia

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/9-19-04

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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