How big is the potato yield gap in Sub-Saharan Africa and why? A participatory approach
This study (PDF) in Open Agriculture is an attempt to develop an innovation consultation approach for yield gap assessment in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), based on syngergies between modelling techniques and historical non-published data of potato experiments. The methodology to do so is novel and unique since it combines modelling and a comprehensive survey. Potatoes are likely to play a major rol in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, since cereals are likely to level off or decline because maximum achieved yeilds are closer to the crop potential yields. Potato farmers accross SSA can increase their current annual production, though it requires lots of efforts to close the huge potato yield gaps found in many countries in SSA, where limiting factors as water, nutrient and biotic, are yet to be controlled. Results showed that the Parameter Estimator is a good tool to estimate model parameters based on expert knowledge of the crop. The estimated yied gap was 58 Mg per hectare. The survey revealed that poor quality seed and bacterial wilt were the main yield gap drivers as perceived by survey respondents. The use of the moddeling tools was crucial for achieving the study goals. The validated methodology can be implemented with the online tools to substitute costly face-to-face workshops. The participatory approach through a community of practice proved to be effective for accessing knowledge. The yield gaps can be reduced with sound technological (seed, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) service delivery, policy, infrastructure and capacity builing interventions.