The Potato Programm, is located in Kuru on Jos Plateau (about 1230 meters above the sea level). It was opened in 1975 with the mandate to conduct demand-driving research leading to the development of improved potato genotypes and production packages for increased potato production and extending same to farmers in liaison with the ADPs. The low temperatures prevailing on the Plateau was a major factor in locating the Programme in this area. Being a temperate crop, potato requires a minimum temperature of 15-20oC for three consecutive months for successful production. This condition eliminates areas like Abia, Imo, Enugu and all States South of Benue and Kwara States. These areas are considered too hot for potato production. Apart from Jos Plateau, potato can also be grown on the Obudu highlands in Cross River State, Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State and Biu Plateau in Borno State. During the cold harmattan months of November – February, potato can also be grown in about eleven Northern States, namely: Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Bauchi, Katsina, Kano, Gombe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna and Kebbi under irrigation.
About 95% of total potato production in Nigeria comes from Jos Plateau. In 1991 about 400,000 tonnes was produced in Nigeria. Current production estimate is about 1,450,000 tonnes. Potato is one of the fastest expanding tuber crops in Nigeria largely as a result of the impact of the programmes Research achievements.
These achievements in the areas of total production and expansion of the crop were possible as a result of the following research achievements:
The potato programme successfully adapted the diffused light potato storage technology originally developed by the International potato center (CIP) to the local Nigerian conditions. Between 1996 and 1998 this structure was modified to reduce cost while still retaining its efficiency in other to improve adoption by end users. The diffused light potato storage structure (DLS) can be adapted for storage of seed and ware potato. It reduces storage losses at farmers’ level from 40% to less than 10% and can store potato tubers for 4 – 5 months.
The programme is the most important source of new improved potato genotypes available to farmers in Nigeria. It is also an important source of high quality seed. This has helped to sustain high yields at farmer’s level. Among the locally bred varieties RC767-2, RC7716-4, RC7716-3 and RC777-3 are popular among farmers and are high yielding and resistant to major potato diseases and pests. The imported elite varieties that have been adapted to local conditions include Nicola, Bertita, Diamant, Kondor, Famosa and BR63-18. Some advanced potato genotypes received from CIP (International Potato Centre) are promising and are at advanced stages of evaluation preparatory to release. Tuberlets generated from True Potato Seed (TPS) received from the united State of America recently is being evaluated for cloning.
(a) Weed Control;
(i) Critical time of weed interference established.
(ii) Best times for manual weeding established.
iii) Best intercropping systems established
- Use of botanicals to manage pests in potato established
(iii) Chemical weed control:
Sencor applied pre-emergence at 4 Lt/ha.
Galex applied pre-emergence at 5 Lt/ha.
(b) Fertilizer Rates:
(i) 100kgN & P205/ha + 100P/ha + 40kg K20/ha.
Applied by side dressing within 4 weeks after planting
(ii) Poultry manure at 4.5 tonnes/ha.
(c) Time of Planting: At the on-set of rains, April – May or
November – December for irrigated farming.
(d) Disease and Pests Control:
(i) Late blight
Early planting and use of early maturing varieties.
Use of resistant varieties.
Application of fungicides to plants;
Dithane at 2kg/ha
Ridomil MZ 1.5kg/ha.
(ii) Bacterial wilt
Use resistant varieties.
Rouging out of infected plants.
Identified Clones 392289.42, and 387300.125 as exhibiting low aphids infestation and severity of viral infection
Farmers have already adopted most these cultural practices developed by the Potato programme
The technology developed adapted from the International Potato Centre (CIP) by the Potato Programme has the following advantages;
(i) The new technology reduced production cost of potato by over 40%.
Only 150 grammes needed to plant 1ha as against 2.0 tonnes of seed tubers.
(ii) Reduced storage cost of seed tuber by 30%. Seed tubers can only store outside refrigeration for 4 – 5 months, but TPS remain viable after 5 years of storage.
(iii) Use of TPS for planting eliminates most tuber borne diseases of potato e.g. Bacterial wilt.
(iv) Reduced Transportation costs of seed tube..
The new Technology is now at on-farm level of evaluation.
This has helped to transfer the developed technologies to farmers.
The adoption of the technologies by farmers was largely responsible for the expansion and increased production of potato.
quality and maintenance with (University of Jos, Lake Chad Research Institute, CIP, GIZ, Syngenta, ASTC)