Trias trains 33 potato seed producers in the Andes mountains

Until now, only large potato growers in Ecuador had access to certified potato seeds. Trias ensures small- and medium-scale farmers can also use them.
In the central Andean region of Ecuador, Trias has joined forces from various institutions. Together they have developed eight training modules for the potato seed producers of four potato cooperatives representing hundreds of family farms.
'We also implemented a demonstration plot,' says Trias employee Maritza Lara. 'There, farmers can test what they have learnt. They are also introduced to the latest insights and techniques. That is important, because high-quality potato seeds are the best guarantee for a successful potato harvest.' 
Growing certified potato seeds requires years of selection work and technical craftsmanship to detect, for example, pests and diseases at an early stage. To learn the tricks of the trade, three Ecuadorian advisers did a three-week internship with Flemish potato seed producer Dirk Ryckaert.
A first for Ecuador
The entire process has resulted in 33 certified potato seed producers for the time being. They will sell their products to the members of Agropapa, Conpapa, Puruguay and Asopapa. They are all family farmers for whom every cent is important in their quest for a higher quality of life.
Certifying farmers is a first for Ecuador. Since 2010, private and public institutions have invested in seed producers’ organisations. This has been a great success, as their potato seeds have resulted in an average yield increase of seven to eighteen tons per hectare.
Unfortunately, this seed is too expensive for small and medium-sized farmers. Moreover, it is often not available when farmers in the high mountains start planting. 'We have ensured that the cooperatives with smaller farmers now produce their own potato seeds. That increases their competitiveness on the potato market,' concludes Maritza Lara.