Formal and informal seed potato supply systems analysis in Rwanda

Ferrari, L.; Fromm, Ingrid; Jenny, K.; Muhire, A.; Scheidegger, Urs (2017). Formal and informal seed potato supply systems analysis in Rwanda In: Tropentag 2017: Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts. Bonn, Germany. September 20-22, 2017.

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Potato production in Rwanda is constantly increasing and represents an important food and cash source for farmers. The potato crop together with maize, wheat, rice, beans and cassava is one of the six priorities crops on which the Crop intensification Program(CIP) is focusing since 2007. Its production is mainly located at high altitudes in the Northern and Western provinces. The Nyabihu, Musanze, Rubavu and Burera districts, due to their favorableclimatic conditions, are the 4 most productive districts,accountingforabout 60% of the national potato production. However, because of the low quality seed use by farmers andlow soilhealth, yields remain low with 11.6 t/ha. The aim of the study was to understand the current situation ofthe formal and informal potato seed supply systemin Rwanda.The study was conductedin the Nyabihu, Musanze, Rubavu and Burera districts from the end of June to the end of September 2016. In order to gather agronomic and socio-economic information,qualitative and quantitative data were collected using 3 social science instruments: formal-informal interviews and expert interviews. Currently, the private sector is the principal actor involved in mini-tubersproduction having a market share of 71%,while the public one has a 29% share. The actual mini-tubersproduction could cover between 13% to30% of the actual Rwandan national demand. However, due to a potato seed leak along the certification process and to a lack of actors who multiplylower seed categories into upper ones, the same figure is not reflected into the actual production of certified seed, which represents5% of the national required demand. Potato cultivation representsthe largest household income source for the sectors with the highest potatoes production levels in the region.In fact, it generates57% of the average gross income per yearper household, which is equal to 621,750 FRw (731 USD). Farmers obtain potato seed from four main sources: his/her own harvest, other farmers, the local markets and the formal seed sector. The large majority (85%) is not able to keep their own seed each season. Indeed, only15% always keeps at least a small part of their potato seed and the remaining quantity is bought off-farm when necessary. On average, the off-farm purchase is done in 57% of the cases showing a high dependency on the off-farm seed sources. Moreover, farmers use certified seed in few cases (3%), because of their unawareness of the certified seed presence in the market, the high price, the low seed availability along with the unwillingness to buy certified seed. Withthe goal of increasing the seed quality among farmers, it is recommended to introduceorextend the utilization of good agronomic practices,positive selection, plot techniques and the use of certified seed. Aiming at increasing the certified seed quantities, primarily we recommend to optimize the current multiplication process by improving the current agricultural practices and by increasing the multiplication bodies exclusively involved in the last certification phases. Only when the last phases are well organized, the mini-tubersproduction can be increased by augmenting the screen housesnumber and/or their exploitation rate. In conclusion, in order to supply Rwandan farmers with high quality seed, the formal and informal systems must be complementary and mutually dependent. The certified seed production must be combined with the development of strong and target linkages (e.g. Farmer Field School) along with the informal seed sector. The promotion of integrated-participative approaches in breeding, seed production and distribution would help increasethe complementarity between the two systems.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Resource-efficient agricultural production systems
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture


Ferrari, L.;
Fromm, Ingrid0000-0003-1509-5746;
Jenny, K.;
Muhire, A. and
Scheidegger, Urs


S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)




Service Account

Date Deposited:

10 Mar 2020 14:13

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2021 21:45




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