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Potato cultivation reached Uganda early in the 1900s, thanks probably to missionaries from the Congo. By mid-century the tubers were widely grown in the country's cool highlands - in fact, the plant was so prolific in some areas that it was regarded as a weed.

In the 1960s, the Ugandan Department of Agriculture launched a potato development programme that helped boost average yields to 10 tonnes per hectare. Potato output topped 350 000 tonnes in the 1970s, but dropped sharply during the widespread civil strife of the following decade.

Since 1990, potato production has rebounded, rising from 224 000 tonnes to a record 650 000 tonnes in 2007. In the same period, the area under potato tripled to an estimated 90 000 ha. Almost half of the national harvest comes from the intensely farmed Kabale highlands, which lie at 2 000 m. above sea level, some 400 km southwest of Kampala.