A boost for seed security and resilience


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Four new climate smart potato varieties released in Nigeria help supply and adapt to local conditions.

THE Nigeria Potato Seed Security Partnership (NPSSP), a project funded by GIZ Nigeria, has successfully introduced four new late blight-resistant and climate-smart potato varieties to Nigeria. 

This will enhance local capacity within the public and private sectors to ensure an adequate supply of high-quality seed potato that meets market demands and is adapted to local conditions.

The International Potato Centre (CIP) spotlighted the project's work at an online event last week (August 11th), in which Potato Breeder Scientist Thiago Mendes and Senior Scientist at CIP Kalpana Sharma, delved into the introduction of the new potato varieties, a significant achievement in Nigeria after a decade-long hiatus. They shared insights into the innovation, impact, and future implications of these varieties for Nigerian agriculture.

The NPSSP project, in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and Fruit and Veggies Global Ltd, has released four exceptional potato varieties: Unica (CIP392797.22), Juriya (CIP393371.157), Babban (CIP393371.58), and Kyau (CIP398190.200). Nigeria’s National Variety Release Committee granted official approval for the registration and release of these varieties in June.

Executive Director of NRCRI Nigeria, Chiedozie Egesi, said: “These new potato varieties are characterised by their high yields, robust disease resistance, and heat tolerance, making them ideal for farmers in Nigeria. The releases mark a significant milestone as they are the first varieties to be introduced in Nigeria in over a decade, incorporating modernised breeding technologies supported by the CIP breeding program and the national program of Nigeria. They also offer excellent taste, multipurpose uses, and nutrition, catering to the preferences of local consumers and various market segments.”

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Nigeria relies on potato cultivation as a vital cash crop, primarily concentrated in the higher-elevation Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Plateau State. However, the current potato yields of 3-4 tons per hectare fall short of meeting the growing demand in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted seed imports from Europe, which historically only provided a fraction of Nigeria’s seed requirements. As a result, import consignments were canceled, necessitating the development of local seed production for enhanced seed security.

CIP Senior Scientist Kalpana Sharma said: “The release of these four open-access public varieties represents a significant step towards strengthening the domestic seed system and variety development in Nigeria. Now the local potato industry can enhance resilience in the face of future challenges, whether they are natural, political, or economic and greatly benefit Nigerian potato growers and their families, ensuring a sustainable and thriving potato sector in the country.”

This activity was undertaken as part of the CGIAR’s SeedQual Initiative, with funding support provided by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

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