Crops and Natural Resources Programme

  • Kachwekano ZARDI has a national mandate to carry out research on potato and temperate fruits mainly apples. Under the crops and natural resources research programme, Research is being done on the following commodities; potato, temperate fruits, sorghum, rice and climbing beans.

    Potato
    Potato is an important crop for both food security and income in Uganda. The crop is grown by 300,000 smallholder households that produce 689,000 tons on 101,000 hectares per year (UBOS 2010). The average potato yield of 6.5 t ha-1 to 7t ha-1 (FAOSTAT, 2011) is low compared to what can be achieved (20 tons ha-1) under optimal conditions. This difference in yield has been attributed to low quality seed, limited use of improved agro-inputs, variety degeneration, pests and diseases among other constraints (Wagoire et. al., 2005). One of the major diseases, late blight causes yield losses of about 40-60% (Kankwatsa et al., 2002). All the available commercial genotypes have succumbed to late blight.
    In the absence of sustained supply of good quality seed, many farmers resort to planting home-saved seed that is usually infected with other diseases such as bacterial wilt (causes a yield loss of about 26%) (Lemaga et al.,1999) and viruses (Kakuhenzire et al., 2000). However, an elaborate functional seed system that is supported by indexing and seed certification can eliminate bacterial wilt and viruses that are seed borne.

    KaZARDI has achieved the following on potatoes:
    Four potato advanced clones for resistance to late blight disease and yielding 20.0-28.0 t/ha have been identified and are to be released as commercial varieties in 2015.
     Promotion of varieties with high yield and resistance to late blight and excellent processing qualities has been accomplished.
    Seed potato production using aeroponics technology was introduced and is currently under use to produce pre basic seed potato for onward use in seed system in Uganda.
    Seed plot techniques was developed for smallholder farmers to efficiently produce clean planting materials.
    Initiated and maintained private seed potato partnerships and availing seed to farmers
    Community based seed facilitators and supplying high quantity if seed to other uptake pathways
     Developed Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) approach for potato value chain and led to stronger benefits to farmers


    Potatoes in an aeroponic unit; one of the techniques KaZARDI uses in multiplying potato planting materials.

    Potato mini tubers of different varieties harvested from the aeroponic unit.