Establishment of Sweet Potato Vine Nurseries as well as Commercial and Smallholder Sweetpotato Farming Enterprises in Different Provinces of South Africa
The primary aim of this project is to establish economically viable commercial and small holder sweet potato enterprises at both rural and peri-urban South African communities in six provinces with the secondary aim of empowering the above-mentioned communities with skills, expertise and business opportunities.
Key Project Information
The primary aim of this project is to establish economically viable commercial and small holder sweet potato enterprises at both rural and peri-urban South African communities in six provinces with the secondary aim of empowering the above-mentioned communities with skills, expertise and business opportunities. Dissemination of healthy vines of improved cultivars will lead to increase in productivity and income generation.
Project activities included a situation analysis on supply and demand for sweet potato propagation material in selected provinces; production, multiplication and dissemination of healthy sweet potato stock material from ARC; establishment of sweet potato vine nurseries in selected districts; on farm infrastructure development and supply of agricultural inputs; training and technical support of beneficiaries in vine multiplication and sweet potato production; establishment of commercial and small holder sweet potato farming enterprises in six provinces of South Africa; developing production and integrated pest and disease management systems, establishment of vine growers association(s) and facilitate meetings; market survey, linking growers to markets; economic and value chain analysis on sweet potato.
During 2013/14, five commercial vine nursery enterprises were established in four provinces and sales of 1425 bags of vines (more than 950 000 cuttings) enough to cover 29 ha of production. Ten sweet potato entrepreneurs in three provinces each produced 1 ha of sweet potato cultivars Bophelo, Ndou and Blesbok. These were sold on the local informal market with great success emphasizing the potential of income generation for small holder farmers. During 2014/15, vine supply increased to 3885 bags (~2.3 mil cuttings) from nine vine growers and an estimated 86 ha were planted of which 55% were orange-fleshed sweet potato. A total of 106 sweet potato grower enterprises were established. The growers were linked to the formal markets identified during the market survey. These markets include supermarkets and National Fresh Produce Market in bigger cities. Economic analysis indicated that the vine producers as well as sweet potato grower enterprises are economically viable.
Project Leader: Dr Portia Ndou
Project Members: Dr Sunette Laurie, Dr Ian du Plooy, Hlerema Igenicious Nicholas, Musa Mtileni, Thakhani Ramathavhana, Whelma Mphela, Bridget Taruvinga, Kholofelo Mashego, Andre van den Berg, Lesley Maraganedzha, Lesego Sediane, Kenny Mahlobogoane