Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation helps small farmers to increase their potato yields and income
by providing access to quality seeds and best agriculture practices.
Agrico helps potato growers in Ukraine increase yield.
kraine produces over 20 million tons of potatoes annually. Almost all potatoes in Ukraine are produced by households and small and medium sized farms. The seed potatoes used by small and medium farms are of very poor quality and normally outdated technologies (varieties). This results in low yields (Ukraine’s average yield is 16 tons per hectare, while average in the EU countries 27-30 tons per hectare) and poor quality of the end product, which is difficult to market. Improved quality of seeds and technologies would enable small and medium farms to produce more and better-quality potatoes, increasing their incomes.
Since 2007 Agrico Ukraine has been addressing the problem of access to quality seeds by offering top potato varieties to Ukrainian farmers. In the beginning Agrico solved the deficit of high quality seed potatoes by importing basic seeds from abroad. However due to high transport costs, and devaluation of local currency, not many farmers could afford to buy imported seeds. In 2010 Agrico has built seed potato storage for 1000 tons of seed and started production of high quality seed potatoes in Ukraine. This helped over 100 Ukrainian farmers to get access to qualityseed, thus to increase their yields. Unfortunately, the gap between the demanded volumes of seed potatoes and the volume seed companies could provide to growers was very big. That’s why Agrico has applied for support to increase its storage capacities to Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation.
For Mykola Boichenko and his family in Zhytomyr area,
Ukraine, a cooperation with Agrico and Partnering for
Innovation helped to increase potato yields from 22 tons
to 50 tons per hectare. Just like many small farmers in rural
territories, he supports local school and kindergarten in his
village of Mezhyrichka. At the same time 130 people
come to work in his farm every day and
make living off the potato field.
In Agrico, we realized that improving access to high quality seed potatoes requires a well-established training and information support, conducting demonstrations, comparisons, trials, etc. With the support of Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Agrico has developed a training course on Successful Potato Cultivation and in 5 months’ time trained over 220 farmers in 7 regions of Ukraine. As a result of these seminars, more growers became aware of importance of quality seeds for their yield increase. To provide access to seed potatoes – Agrico had rehabilitated an old building into a modern seed potato storage. This doubled company’s capacity for seed from 1000 tons of existing store to 2,500 tons and allowed to supply over 200 farmers with quality seed potatoes in spring 2016.
What does it mean to plant fresh seeds? It will lead to higher yield of potatoes. Increase of productivity of 200 potato growers will lead to increase in revenues and profitability of these small and medium size potato growers. Many of these farms are family farms; and they are socially involved in village development, financing kindergartens, schools, and hospitals. Therefore, stable income from potato growing will contribute to rural development in their areas.