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Effect of Technology Awareness and Access on the Conservation of Clean Planting Materials of Vegetatively Produced Crops: The Case of Sweetpotato

Efforts to combat vitamin A deficiency in children and pregnant mothers have focused on promotion of nutritionally enhanced food security crops. Such efforts have recently targeted the production and consumption of these crops. The orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is one of the most known nutritionally enhanced crops. However, access to quality planting materials of OFSP and most vegetatively propagated crops by farmers remains a major constraint. This study used discrete and count data regression models and data collected from 732 farm households in Tanzania to test the effect of participation on a project designed to break this quality “seed” bottleneck (via technology awareness and targeted access to clean planting materials) on a) the decision to conserve planting materials during dry periods for future planting and b) the number of conservation strategies used by farmers. The study found that participation in such a project increases both the likelihood of conserving quality planting materials and also the number of conservation strategies employed by the farmers. It also found that varietal attributes and the agroecology of the area affect conservation of OFSP planting materials. It concludes that awareness and access to clean sweetpotato planting materials of nutritionally enhanced crops promote farmers’ conservation of own planting materials. The study discusses the policy implications of the findings.

About Julius Juma Okello