Dutch to promote production of the Irish potatoes in Tanzania

01Nov 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Dutch to promote production of the Irish potatoes in Tanzania

A potato is a root vegetable, the Solanum tuberosum. It is a small plant with large leaves. The part of the potato that people eat is a tuber that grows under the ground.

A potato contains a lot of starch and other carbohydrates. Potato usually has a light-brown or yellowish skin and is white or yellow inside. If the potato gets light on it, the tuber turns green and will be poisonous.

The potato is originally from the high and cool areas of the Andes mountains. It was grown as a food crop thousands of years ago. When Spanish conquistadores came to South America in the 1500s they took potatoes back to Europe.

It took nearly 200 years for the potato to become a widely grown crop. In the 1780s the farmers in Ireland began growing potatoes because they grew well in the poor soils. They also have most of the vitamins that people need to live. When a potato plague destroyed the crop in 1845 the Irish Potato Famine killed many people.


The potato plant is now grown in many different parts of the world. Captain William Bligh planted potatoes on Bruny Island, Tasmania in 1792. In Australia they are now the largest vegetable crop.

Scientists in Germany have used genetic engineering to make a potato called the Amflora, which could be grown to make starch for making other things in factories.


Potatoes are almost always eaten cooked. People cook potatoes by boiling, baking, roasting, or frying them. French fries or "chips" are potatoes cut into long pieces and fried until they are soft. Potato chips, often called crisps, are potatoes cut into very thin round pieces and fried until they are hard.

William Shakespeare wrote that the potato was an aphrodisiac, but there is no evidence to show this is true.







Production of Irish potato in Tanzania will rise steeply if the government will emphasise on public-private partnership, the Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania, Jeroen Verheul  said recently.

The envoy was on tour of Mbeya Region and was received by the Regional Commissioner, Albert Chalamila. Speaking in his office, the envoy said the government should encourage public-private partnership in the agricultural sector for the good of farmers.

After visiting a demonstration farm in Nyamwanga Village, Isongole, Rungwe District, Verheul said his country will cooperate with Tanzania to promote production of the Irish potatoes in the southern highland regions.

The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) is hugely involved in the Nyamwanga project that seeks to pass on good potato farming practices to farmers.

“We are starting with Irish potatoes because it has a big demand in the market. It is important the government cooperates with the private sector because this kind of cooperation will increase productivity in potato production and contribute to economic growth,” the envoy said.

The ambassador also said the two countries will enter into a bilateral agreement to promote the crop but did not indicate when.

The Sagcot Chief Executive Officer, Geoffrey Kirenga, said he was happy with the project’s progress and welcomed the envoy’s visit to the farm.

 “We are building a solid foundation of this cooperation. Potato production in this area has been going on for ages but your harvest ranges between five and eight tonnes in a hectare. But our overseas friends harvest more than 20 tonnes from the same area.”

Top Stories