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Sweet Potato

Sweet potato production in Uganda

Uganda is the largest producer of sweet potato in Africa and the sweet potato ranks third in importance as a stable food after bananas and cassava. It can be kept for some time in the soil as a reserve crop, withstands extreme weather conditions, and performs well in marginal soils. The sweet potato is grown everywhere in the country. It is easier to grow as it requires less labour input.

Uganda annual sweet potatoes production is estimated at 2.5 metric tons. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, Uganda is the third largest grower of sweet potatoes in the world, and Ugandans consume an average of 85 kilograms of sweet potatoes per year, the third-highest level of any country in the world.

Importance of sweet potato crop

The sweet potato is important for the following reasons:
• It is a key food in household food Security both in raw and dry form.
• Sweet potato generates cash income in addition to being a food source.
• Sweet potato leaves or vines used as green manure or fed to livestock
• The leaves are rich in vitamins and can be eaten by human beings.

Cultivating of the Crop

The following are the important points to note in sweet potato production:

• Farmers plant potato vines on mounds of soil in the prepared gardens.
• They can also be planted on ridges of soil prepared to control soil erosion.
• Sweet potato can be planted and harvested any time throughout the year.
• It is advisable sweet potato comes either first or last in the crop rotation.
• Weeding is done once or twice depending on weather conditions.
• Sweet potato can be intercropped with beans, maize, and other crops.
• For family use piecemeal harvesting is practiced.
• Local farmers rarely use purchased inputs in potato production.

Constraints faced farmers in growing sweet potatoes

The following are the challenges faced by farmers in growing sweet potatoes:
Despite the demonstrated importance of Sweet potato, its production still faces
• Absence of high-yielding and disease-resistant planting materials,
• Lack of capital to grow it on large scale
• Poor agronomic practices,
• Lack of markets for sweet potatoes,
• the high cost of existing inputs,
• It is difficult to store after harvesting,
• Potatoes have limited use opportunities,
• Sweet potatoes are attached by insect and pests

Kinds of foods

Sweet potatoes can be processed into many kinds of foods in Uganda including the following:
• Sun-dried slices of sweet potato as done in Teso areas,
• Sweet potato crisps
• Sweet potato porridge.
• Peeling and steaming the potatoes
• Mashing the steamed potatoes with beans or peas and various greens

Areas in Uganda that grow cotton

The districts which high quantities of potatoes include the following:
• Iganga 270,853 tonnes.
• Nakasongola 66,419 tonnes
• Iganga 270,853 tonnes
• Gulu 61,732 tonnes
• Kyenjojo 40,148 tonnes

Others districts include Mubende, Luwero, Wakiso, Mpigi, Masaka, Mukono, Kiboga, Rakai, Apac, Mbale, Kabale, Kabarole, and Arua

Varieties of sweet potato
Local sweet potato varieties vary across farms and districts and several varieties are in Uganda. The grown varieties tend to tolerate a range of climatic conditions and have high yield and disease or pest resistance. No improved varieties have been released. The varieties which tend to be planted across the country include the following:

• Kyebandula,
• Kawogo,
• Magabari,
• Sukali,
• Bitambi,
• Tanzania
• Nabitololo,
• Kawungezi,
• Marafuelet,
• Muyambi,
• Camo 010 Obuc,
• Tedo Kere,
• Aber

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