In the many parts of Africa that have a long dry season, farmers complete the main harvest of sweetpotato roots by the early part of the dry season. This harvest and desiccation during the remaining part of the season destroy the foliage of these crops, so those that supply vines for planting when the rains return are the few grown during the dry season in swampy areas or where they can be irrigated – and most farmers do not have such land. This makes these vines valuable and their production and sale as planting material become businesses. Some get traded long distances, creating roles and jobs within value and supply chains.
This booklet is mostly based on the findings of a project in Tanzania and Uganda (2013 – 2016), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and aiming to strengthen and commercialize multipliers, traders and sellers in vine supply chains. It focuses on:
1. Sweetpotato vine markets and marketing. 2. Business opportunities in informal/ private enterprise seed systems. 3. How multipliers can increase the quantity of vines produced and sold. 4. How multipliers can improve the quality of vines sold.
The main purposes of the booklet are to encourage current and potential multipliers and suggest how they can improve vine businesses. Many of the people using it will be in development and extension; they will then be the route for multipliers to access the information. An underlying aim is to make such people aware that there is a vibrant seed system already supplying smallholders in Africa with planting material. This sustainable foundation provides the base from which a modern seed system able to support a thriving industry will develop.
Authors: Richard Gibson, David Phillips, everina lukonge, Yuventino Obong, Gration Rwegasira, Stephen Kalule, Wilfred Mushobozi
Subjects: Commercializing seed systems
Publisher: Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich,
Publication Date: August 31, 2016