Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) achieved TC initiation of 40 against a planned 200, and produced 140,000 cuttings of pre-basic seed, which was transferred to open field for large multiplication. Almost 2.5 million RWF worth of cuttings have been sold, mainly to institutions, but some individuals also make orders. The focus is on the most preferred and dual purpose varieties, including white–fleshed ones. Ratooning is limited to 3-4 times within the screen house, and to only two times in open field. The seed inspection standards and protocol has been submitted to the Standards Board for approval.
The demand is higher than RAB’s supply capacity. This demand is driven by institutional buyers yet in the long run, these institutions are distorting the market as they reduce farmers’ willingness to pay for vines. This is why the marketing strategy will focus on the private sector. One idea that emerged from stakeholder meetings is the development to brand seed with specific information e.g. name of variety, agronomic requirements and nutritional content. The sweetpotato market is growing, with 10kgs of roots are sold at USD 10, because cassava diseases have increased root demand.
Government officials do not understand why a government institution should sell them vines instead of distributing them for free. This has been a challenge for RAB’s commercialization.