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The 7th Sweetpotato Seed Systems Community of Practice Consultation takes place in Uganda

The 7th Sweetpotato Seed Systems Community of Practice Consultation was held from 13th to 14th June in Colline Hotel, Mukono Uganda. The theme of the meeting was Towards Upscaling Sweetpotato Seed Production and Delivery of Quality Planting Material in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sweetpotato Seed Systems CoP members pose for a photograph during the 2017 annual meeting held in Mukono, Uganda (Photo: C. Bukania/CIP-SSA)
Sweetpotato Seed Systems CoP members pose for a photograph during the 2017 annual meeting held in Mukono, Uganda (Photo: C. Bukania/CIP-SSA)

The meeting was attended by 62 participants from 11 countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia).

David Talengera (Biocrops Ltd.) welcomed participants to the meeting, whose objectives were to share experiences on scaling sweetpotato seed systems; quality assurance (seed standards and inspection); and on different vegetatively propagated crops (sweetpotato, banana)

The Director of NaCRRI, Dr. Godfrey Asea opened the meeting on behalf of the Director General of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). He commended the good working relationship with CIP over the years and stated that the meeting had a good mix of public and private partners.

“The challenge for you in the remaining phase of SASHA is to move sweetpotato seed from the informal to the formal sector”,” he said, emphasizing that there were many who had already developed and adopted standards. These were examples that others could draw from.

There were four keynote addresses. In the first one titled ‘Scaling sweetpotato seed systems in Uganda: an analysis of the accelerators and brakes,’ Charles Musoke (HarvestPlus Uganda) provided highlights of Africa and Uganda seed systems with relevance to sweetpotato, HarvestPlus’ seed dissemination efforts and suggestions of accelerators and brakes for the sweetpotato seed systems in Uganda.

The second keynote address was titled ‘how sweetpotato seed standards can contribute to scaling up delivery and access to quality planting materials: the Uganda experience.’ It was delivered by Dr Settumba Mukasa (School of Agricultural Sciences, Makerere University).

To facilitate learning across different crops, Ann Rietveld (Bioversity) made a presentation about Banana seed systems and the influence of gender. Ann emphasized the fact that some of the assumptions that were made about the roles of men and women reduced opportunities for women in the value chain, and that given an opportunity, women had proven just as capable of handling commercial banana production.

Dr. Dan Gilligan (Deputy Director of IFPRI’s Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division) held a webinar to present a study on lessons from orange sweetpotato saturation and thought leader experiments for promoting adoption in Uganda. The study used a randomized saturation experiment and influential technology promoters to test strategies to promote diffusion of two highly nutritious agricultural crop technologies in Uganda to measure which approaches are most cost-effective at achieving high adoption rates.

In a World Café set up, two poster sessions were held. The first focused on experiences with scaling in sweetpotato seed systems, while the second focused on experiences with quality assurance in sweetpotato seed systems. During these sessions, participants visited at least three posters to listen to the presentation and identify the accelerators and brakes.

On 14th June 2017, participants had an option to go to one of three learning journeys. Those visiting the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Namulonge learnt about the public sector model for pre-basic seed production, while those that went to BioCrops (U) Ltd tissue culture Lab learnt about the private sector model of pre-basic seed production. Other participants went to Lwanyanga Vincent, an area where HarvestPlus is supporting the commercialization of orange sweetpotato vine production.

For details of the meeting proceedings, please visit: http://buff.ly/2tcSloc

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