The International Potato
Centre (CIP) last week handed over disease resistant Irish potato seeds to 10
farmers in Dedza.
The past two years have seen farmers in the district
grappling with dwindling Irish potato harvests due to late blight disease.
The farmers received the seed potatoes at a ceremony organised by CIP at Fisikulibe Village in Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza.
Speaking in an interview, CIP potato scientist Obed Mwenye
said for the past two years, Irish potato farmers have seen their production
figures lowered by 23 percent due to the effects of climate change.
“For a long time, potato growing districts such as Dedza,
Lilongwe and Ntcheu, have been attacked by a disease called late blight locally
known as chiwawu which has led to a drop in yields.
“It is for this reason that we approached Irish Aid to help
us develop new varieties that can resist this disease,” he said.
Mwenye said CIP in
conjunction with the Agricultural Research Department with funding from Irish
Aid, have come up with several seeds that are resistant to this disease.
So far the disease-resistant seed varieties, namely Chuma,
Thandizo, Mwayi, Violet and Zikomo will be multiplied by the 10 farmers who
will then pass on to other farmers.
In his remarks, group village head (GVH) Kaboola thanked CIP
for coming to the rescue of potato farmers in Dedza.
“We have been harvesting
little or nothing at all because of the heavy rains which have been hitting our
district and with these new seeds, farmers will now start enjoying the fruits
of their labour,” he said.
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