Potato is not only a staple, it is also an important cash crop which is expanding year after year in Uzbekistan, and there is an obvious need for quality seeds necessary for local farmers to cultivate this crop. Therefore, development of seed potato production capacities for ensuring local food security and increasing productivity at farm and household level is very important.
The International Potato Center (CIP) – a globally recognized leader in development and research of this crop, has been actively working in Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) region to introduce and promote innovative breeding methods and sustainable cultivation practices for potato, thereby increasing income and creating sustainable livelihood options for local farmers and small householders in the Region.
Being a member of the CGIAR consortium of international research centres CIP has been contributing to the CGIAR’s activities under the Regional Program for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia and the Caucasus (CGIAR-CAC). One of the key tasks within the Program’s mission is building the capacities of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) partners in the areas of crop breeding and cultivation through improving their knowledge and awareness about modern technologies and innovations available worldwide. CIP in cooperation with other donor and development agencies has therefore been putting its best efforts to channel such knowledge and experience to its local partners in the Region.
The training course on potato cultivation and farm-based seed production has been organized by CIP in association with IWMI office in Tashkent. This training course was a part of activities envisaged under the BMZ/GIZ-funded project “Improved potato varieties and water management technologies to enhance water use efficiency, resilience, cost-effectiveness, and productivity of smallholder farms in stress-prone Central Asian environment”.
The training course was organized at the Andijan regional station of the Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Vegetables, Melons and Potato, on 20 June 2012. The training course was designed for local farmers of Fergana Valley, which represent one of the most important vegetable and potato growing areas in Uzbekistan.
The training course was attended by 38 participants, including scientists of the Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Vegetables, Melon and Potato based in Tashkent and from its Regional Station in Andijan, as well as the owners of vegetable seed production farms and water users association from Andijan and Fergana, respectively.
Training Courses consisted of theoretical and practical sessions led by CIP team in Tashkent, with specialized topics in potato breeding and agronomy. The objective of training courses was to improve knowledge of participants about potato cultivation in general and seed potato production techniques, including farm-based seed production;potato diseases and pests and respective control methods, and principles of potato storage.
General guidelines and instructions with precise description of potato cultivation techniques, necessary care during the vegetation period, harvesting and post-harvest practices have been introduced to the participants during the training.
As a part of practical exercise of the training course the participants have also visited demonstration plots, where they had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with symptoms of plant diseases and methods to overcome them.