Regional approach towards addressing invasive quarantine pests of potato
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are among the most consumed staple food crops in East and Southern Africa, being a major source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential amino acids (Andre et al., 2007). Potato production in East and Southern Africa is dominated by smallholder farmers. The total potato production area in East and Southern Africa is estimated at over 800,000 ha, producing about 9 million tons. In Kenya, potato is the second most important crop after maize, contributing approximately US$300-400 million annually to the economy (MoALFC, 2019). The potato value chain employs about 3.3 million people directly and indirectly as producers (growers), brokers, market agents, transporters, processors, vendors, retailers and exporters. Growers are estimated at 800,000 (USAID Report, 2015). Productivity of potatoes in Southern Africa is higher at about 157% of the world average. However, potato production is constrained by a number of factors including low availability of certified seed, pests and diseases, poor market access and exploitation by traders (USAID Report, 2015).
This project preparation grant (PPG) is aimed at enabling the elaboration of a project proposal for creating a "Regional approach to address invasive quarantine pests of potato in East and Southern Africa", with a focus on Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN), through harmonizing national efforts on a regional basis.
Ultimately, the project to be developed will create awareness and build capacity for the detection of PCN primarily, in addition to other regulated non-quarantine pests (such as Pectobacterium and Dickeya), among public and private sector stakeholders in the potato value chains across countries in East and Southern Africa. Awareness creation and improved capacity for detection and monitoring pests are key steps towards prevention of spread and introduction of pests in the currently un-infested areas and towards managing the pests where they are present.