18 Jun Potato Growers purchase significant amounts of Elite Potato Seed (Assistance to RAS)
In the agricultural season of 2014 an unprecedented volume of imported high quality, Elite seed has been made available to potato growers in Samtskhe Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions by Rural Advisory Service LLC (RAS), through technical and financial support from the Rural Economic Development Programme (RED) funded by Danish and Swiss governments.
Using high quality certified disease-free potato seed is essential for achieving high yields. For the last decades there has been a strong deficiency of such quality (Elite and Class A) seed in Georgia, resulting in current production rates as low as 15 MT/per Ha on average. In order to tackle this problem RAS LLC (established in 2009), a member of Agro Service Consortium and one of the major service providers in the Samtske Javakheti Region managed to import 525 metric tons of Dutch Elite class potato seeds through the RED project’s secured loan assistance programme,
The 525 mt of imported Elite Class seed potatoes were purchased immediately upon arrival by 1315 growers, coming from 143 villages (13 municipalities). These seeds have been planted on 141 Ha in Samtskhe Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions with an expected doubling of the minimum average yield, of which 50% or approximately 2600 MT will be A class seed potatoes produced in the 2014 season. Given the demand for 60,000 MT of potato seeds in Georgia annually this will amount to 4.3% of the seed demand in 2015, enabling an even higher value of seed sales and still leaving vast space for growers to increase potato production for the next few years.
Most importantly, due to the high quality of the Dutch Elite class seeds with high resistance against diseases the farmers will save on cost of potato seeds in the coming 4 years!
Competitive agricultural production cannot be accomplished without access to significantly improved inputs (tools, technology and finance), while both farmers and inputs suppliers need capital to purchase them. The objective of RED assistance and its collaborating partners is to facilitate input suppliers and their consultants and lending institutions to provide commercially sustainable programes that enable small, medium farms and agricultural input suppliers to provide increased volumes at higher quality for domestic potato value chain in Georgia and potentially lead up to potato exports.