Methods for sweet potato storage, previously developed at a research station, were tested on-farm by subsistence farmers in Lake Zone, Tanzania. On-farm testing confirmed that the methods were suitable but indicated that practical and simple improvements were necessary, without which losses in the proportion of market-quality roots from the store could be as high as 79%. These practical improvements were mainly concerned with the position of stores on the farms. The addition of a new step, dehaulming, improved the recovery of market-quality roots by 48%. However, although the storage methods were developed in order to improve farmer income, most farmers said they would use the stored roots as a subsistence staple for household food security. Variations among the farmers in their attitudes to storing sweet potato suggest that, when transferring methods from the research station to the farm, it is necessary to target those most able to adopt the approach. Additionally, the farmers considered that local market traders may not be keen to sell stored roots. Therefore, other actors in the value chain, such as market traders and consumers, ought to be included in the process of transferring methods from the research station to the farm.
Tomlins, K.; Ndunguru, G.; Kimenya, F.; Ngendello, T.; Rwiza, E.; Amour, R.; van Oirschot, Q.; Westby, A. On-farm evaluation of methods for storing fresh sweet potato roots in East Africa. Tropical Science (2007) 47 (4) 197-210. [DOI: 10.1002/ts.214]