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Farmers Push for reintroduction of Victoria Potato Variety

ate Ainembabazi, a farmer in Bubaare Sub County, says that the Victoria Irish potato variety should have been preserved well and made accessible to farmers since it is high yielding. She wants researchers to educate them on how best it can be reintroduced in their gardens.

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Farmers in Kabale are pushing for the reintroduction and improvement of the traditional Victoria Irish potato variety. The species, whose production is almost disappearing, was treasured by farmers for being high yielding and doing well in upland areas. According to the farmers, although the Victoria Irish potato variety was prune to diseases, it was profitable.

Now, farmers want the National Agricultural Research Centre to conduct research into the variety, make it resistant to disease and reintroduce it. Kate Ainembabazi, a farmer in Bubaare Sub County, says that the Victoria Irish potato variety should have been preserved well and made accessible to farmers since it is high yielding.

She wants researchers to educate them on how best it can be reintroduced in their gardens.  60-year-old Juma Ahmed, a resident of Kyanamira has been growing Irish potatoes for the last 20 years.  According to Ahmed, the Victoria Irish potato variety is good for low income earners, saying it must be saved by researchers.

He says unless there is immediate intervention this particular Irish potato variety may become extinct. Edison Hillman, the Kabale District Agricultural Officer has confirmed receiving demands from farmers to reintroduce the Victoria Irish potato variety.

According to Hillman, the district production department has been liaising with the Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute at Kacwekano to improve the variety to make it disease resistant. Alex Barekye, the director at Kacwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute says they are already working to improve the variety. He says preliminary results shows that once improved, Victoria Irish potato variety will perform better.

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