Potatoes for food and income
In Were-Jarso district farmers have the potential to produce different food crops including Irish potatoes. Although there is potato production potential in the district, it has not been fully realized due to: lack of experience, the high cost of inputs, poor marketing channels, and a lack of improved varieties. Considering these potato production problems, CPAR-Ethiopia under the Farmers First program introduced two types of certified potato seeds (Jalene and Gudene varieties) to organized Farmer Field Schools (FFS) groups in target kebeles.
Ato Gari Wakjira, 60, is one of the members of the Dire-Qufa Farmer Field School (FFS) group organized at Abo Yayebena kebele. He has a responsibility to feed his family members with farming being his main livelihood. On the two hectares of land he owns, the major crops he produces are teff, beans, and chickpeas, though the annual production is not enough for year-round family consumption.
Being a member of the Dire-Qufa FFS group, he participated in training in potato production and management facilitated at his locality. Based on his interest, he was provided with one quintal of certified Gudene variety of potato seed to produce on one Gezim (1/6th of a hectare) of land.
“Prior to the training on potato production and management, I had no idea on how to produce potatoes and how much money I could make from them. Thanks to CPAR and those development workers, I now have life-changing knowledge on potato production and management. CPAR also facilitated access to the seeds and you can witness from the farm how attractive it is. After a month, I will have almost 20 quintal of potatoes in addition to the other food crops I am producing. You can imagine the additional income from the sale of potatoes I can earn!”
Currently one quintal of potatoes is worth Ethiopian Birr 350.00 ($20) at the local market.
In addition to improved seed provision, Ato Gari participated in community training on agronomic practices, gender, HTP, HIV & AIDS and saving and credit, conducted at kebele level. He also has access to peer discussion periodically.