The project, which was co-financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), sought to improve the livelihoods of smallholder potato producers in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya through integrated development of the seed and ware potato production and marketing chain. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the effectiveness of poverty reduction through integrated potato sector development in the pilot intervention areas and to disseminate this approach to other regions/countries of Africa. The project pursued four specific objectives: to increase the availability of high quality seed potatoes at an affordable price; to increase smallholder potato farmers’ income by boosting potato yields through improved seed potato quality management and crop husbandry; to improve market linkages and communication between potato value chain stakeholders; and to translate project results into national potato sector development plans and share project lessons with international partners.
At completion in 2012, the project fully met or even surpassed the set objective goals. Due to project activities related to improved seed quality and quantity available, participating farmers have significantly increased their potato yields. The nearly 9,000 directly participating farmers were able to increase their yields from about 8 t/ha at the start of the project in 2008 to over 30 t/ha in Ethiopia and from less than 10 t/ha in 2008 both in Kenya and Uganda to about 14 t/ha. At the same time the project successfully linked seed producers to lucrative markets such as crisp and chips factories as well as supermarkets and restaurants. These pay above market prices for special qualities delivered. An observable impact in two project countries (Kenya and Uganda) has been reported. Ethiopia has been exceptionally successful with clearly visible impact which was appreciated at the federal government level.
An external Impact Evaluation undertaken by the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) for the Ethiopian country component in April 2014 confirmed and concluded that the project has clearly brought a wide range of positive livelihood changes for potato farmers in the highlands of Ethiopia. It has brought new potato related knowledge and technologies, helped to organise farmers, and has significantly improved food security and household incomes. The project was assessed to be well targeted and well implemented and applied a strategy which, rather than focussing on one or two production issues, took a systematic approach to transforming the seed and ware potato value chains. The final rating of the project in line with OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Criteria resulted in a 4.4 out of maximum of 5 points. The Final Technical Report of the project (prepared by the International Potato Centre – CIP) is available through the above link.