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Topic 14: Distinguishing seed classes when purchasing planting material

There has been great effort towards establishing sustainable sweetpotato seed systems that ensure farmer access to sufficient quantities of vigorous and disease-free planting material at the right time. The process of institutionalizing and commercializing seed systems is already at advanced stages in many sub-Saharan Africa countries. Regulatory frameworks, seed acts and policies have been drafted, and even gazetted in some countries. Similarly, quality assurance mechanisms to support production of clean planting material have been put in place in form of inspection and certification protocols. On commercialization aspect, farmers’ willingness to pay for quality planting material as well as the cost attached to specific seed class should be reflected by high root yield performance. Reports show that seed classes have a significant effect on potential root yield. However, the nature of sweetpotato planting material makes it difficult to distinguish different seed classes through visual observation when purchasing planting material. Stakeholders along the seed value chain need to identify measures /actions that can be put in place to assist customers distinguish seed classes when purchasing quality planting material from decentralized/commercial vine multipliers.