Tanzania and the Netherlands Launch Potato Seed Registration Guide to Boost Agriculture and Food Security

Kilimokwanza.org Reporter

In a move to bolster the agricultural sector and ensure food security, Tanzania, in partnership with the Dutch Embassy, has unveiled a comprehensive guidebook for the registration of potato seed varieties. The initiative, aimed at enhancing the potato farming landscape, was announced during a ceremony held in Dar es Salaam last week.

The Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania, Wiebe de Boer, emphasized the importance of the launch, marking it as a significant milestone in the ongoing journey to strengthen the agricultural sector and potato cultivation in Tanzania. “This initiative is the result of a decade-long cooperation between Tanzania and the Netherlands, which has not only encouraged Dutch potato farmers to register their varieties in Tanzania but also attracted investments to expand the potato value chain,” Ambassador de Boer stated. He further highlighted the role of potatoes as a staple food in ensuring food security, generating income for local farmers, and creating job opportunities.

Highlighting the need for efficiency and productivity in potato farming, Ambassador de Boer noted that success in the sector demands the use of high-quality seeds and adherence to best agricultural practices. He proudly mentioned that the Netherlands is home to over 250 potato varieties, cultivated for a range of purposes including cooking, frying, crisping, baking, seed production, and starch processing.

Dr. Patrick Ngwediagi, the Director-General of the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), detailed the significance of the guidebook. According to Dr. Ngwediagi, the manual will serve as a vital resource for potato seed breeders, farmers, and investors, both local and international, interested in tapping into Tanzania’s potato sector. The guidebook is designed to provide a step-by-step approach on how to register seed varieties in the country and outlines the processes involved in producing high-quality seeds to foster sector growth.

Over the past decade, The SAGCOT Centre has played a pivotal role in recognizing and enhancing the potato’s vital contribution to food and economic security in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Identifying the potato as a key agricultural investment, the Centre has been instrumental in forging strategic collaborations that span the entire spectrum of the agricultural sector. From hosting exploratory meetings to organizing impactful farmer field days in Njombe, the Centre has mobilized a dynamic coalition of stakeholders committed to transforming the potato value chain. This holistic strategy, which focuses on the introduction of improved seed varieties, the adoption of mechanization, and the application of best agricultural practices, has brought together government officials, private sector participants, financial institutions, and development partners.

This collaborative effort has significantly shifted the landscape towards sustainable agricultural advancement, establishing a new benchmark for the future of the potato industry. Building on this success, regional leaders and stakeholders in Njombe are now laying the groundwork for an ambitious new project: the creation of a ‘Potato City.’

Bart Pauwels, the Agricultural Counsellor of the Dutch Embassy in Tanzania (right), and Dr. Patrick Ngwediagi, the Director-General of the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) (second from right), unveil the potato farming guidebook in Dar es Salaam. Joined by Wiebe de Boer, the Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania (third from left), Geoffrey Kirenga, the CEO of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and agricultural stakeholder Bob Shuma (left), this collaborative effort marks a significant stride toward enhancing agricultural productivity and food security.