Sweetpotato seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa
This working paper (PDF) by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (CGIAR-RTB) reviews CGIAR’s current knowledge of sweet potato seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to identify gaps and research needs to ensure smallholder farmers can access timely and sufficient quantities of quality sweet potato planting material. The initial findings from this review point to the highly contingent and emergent nature of sweet potato seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, any approach for decision-making should be complemented by a process-oriented and participatory approach to identify mechanism that ensure the desired outcome and respond to local circumstances. It is critical to ensure that more genetic material is flowing through the system and is evaluated under different agro-ecological and socioeconomic conditions. The financial and social sustainability of sweet potato seed systems should be supported by an analysis of a wide array of context-specific factors. These include climatic and agro-ecological conditions and risks; pest and disease incidence; understanding of existing farmer seed practices; strong links to farmer and market demand (varieties, quality, quantities, and timing) for vines and roots; socioeconomic and gender constraints; and clear institutional arrangements to support coordination, information flow, and linkages between different actors in the seed and root value chains. For this, more research is required to support improvements in sweet potato seed systems.
In addition to this working paper, CGIAR RTB published case studies (PDF) describing roots, tubers and bananas seed system interventions.