Celebrating the Potato

18/03/2014 at 7:43 am Leave a comment

In 2011, we wrote a blog post in praise of the humble potato. In that article, we made the case that the potato can play a big role in providing food security and eradicating poverty, and helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

And today, in honour of Ireland’s national day, St. Patrick’s Day, WorldVision Ireland takes up the baton.

Here’s what they posted on Facebook:

“Happy St Patrick’s Day! Today we are celebrating our national vegetable, the potato, which is also a favourite in East Africa.

Did you know that potatoes are commonly known across East Africa as “Irish potatoes”? Suiting the climate in the cooler, highland areas of south-west Uganda where North Rukiga ADP is located, potatoes are a crucial food and cash crop. World Vision is helping farmers access high quality, disease-free potato seed from local suppliers. We also train them on farming techniques and pest control to help ensure a successful crop.

Although it is early days, potato farmers in North Rukiga are starting to see some results. 76% reported higher returns from the sale of their produce this year. This means farming households can better meet the cost of essential needs, such as healthcare, education and shelter.


Arinda Barack is a member of one of the farmers groups World Vision is working with in North Rukiga ADP:

“Growing Irish potatoes in our community is a profitable business. After benefiting from training, and start up seeds from World Vision, I increased the size my garden up to 5 acres of Irish potatoes. I have been able to earn a good income from my garden which has enabled me to support my two young sisters to get education and one of them is doing primary teachers course. My children are in school and I am currently constructing permanent family house out of income from the garden”.

The further potential of potatoes to raise incomes in the south west of Uganda was highlighted in recent years, as a local farmer’s association supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization negotiated a deal to supply the new branch of Nando’s in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. This is a real breakthrough for farmers in the region – Nando’s were previously importing potatoes from abroad as they could not source local potatoes of the required standard for their French fries. With a large potato processing plant planned for the region, many farmers of the Irish Potato in North Rukiga will be optimistic about the future.”


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