By Harm Brinks, Delphy
The last training in the project, about potato production, was dedicated to technical assistance in making a potato handbook. We first discussed the level of the book’s content. The conclusion was that the information in the handbook should help farmers and advisers to improve the production of Irish potatoes in Rwanda.
The average yields in Rwanda are still low, between 10 and 15 tons per hectare, while the potential yields are much higher. We have defined the ambition to increase yields to 30 tons/ha.
During the training sessions we identified various aspects of current practices that need to be improved to achieve the goals: higher yields and better quality potatoes. The potato handbook must provide information to farmers and advisers who support the improvement of crop management practices. We clustered the aspects and divided the work: groups of 3-4 people worked on a detailed agenda for the content for the handbook, an action list and started creating the first content. The sources for the content were all training materials used during the project, the book Potato Signals and various other sources of information.
The following topics for short-term improvement were identified:
- Seed quality, vital seeds, free from virus diseases. What can a farmer do to improve seed quality?
- Crop establishment, optimum seed rate per m2
- Crop protection, especially control of late blight and aphids, as a vector of potato viruses
- Fertiliser strategies based on soil analysis.
- Crop rotation.
Based on this detailed agenda the different teams worked on the content of the handbook, which was finalised by the end of 2018.