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Utrecht University (2018)

Factors enabling and constraining the introduction of the Hybrid Potato Seed technology in Ethiopia

Cocchini, S.

Titre : Factors enabling and constraining the introduction of the Hybrid Potato Seed technology in Ethiopia

Auteur : Cocchini, S.

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Master 2018

Résumé
Potatoes are consumed worldwide every day and are the third most important crop for human consumption after rice and wheat (CIP, n.d.a). They are energy dense and therefore offer a high potential for food security. In some countries however, this is not fully exploited for several reasons. In Ethiopia for instance, despite the high geological potential for potato cultivation (Haverkort et al., 2012 ; Hirpa et al., 2010), productivity ranges between 8 to 10 tons/hectare (Asfaw and Asfaw, 2017 ; Haverkort et al., 2012 ; Hirpa et al., 2010). This low productivity is believed to be mainly caused by the low quality and quantity of seed potatoes available (de Vries et al., 2016 ; Dersseh et al., 2016 ; Gildemacher et al., 2009 ; Hirpa et al., 2010 ; Hirpa et al., 2012). In general, traditional potato cultivation suffers from two main constrictions. First, with conventional breeding techniques, a long time (decades) is necessary to develop new varieties with the preferred genes. Second, using seed tubers as planting material builds up diseases with each round of multiplication and implies high transports costs. Plus, tubers are bulky and perishable and require large storage space. Recently, a Dutch seed potato breeding company managed to apply hybrid breeding to potatoes for the first time. This means that it is now possible to selectively breed new varieties in only a few years. Moreover, hybrids varieties can be propagated via true seeds, with subsequent enormous advantages in terms of logistics (Beumer and Edelenbosch, 2017). However, even when innovations are promising and well-functioning, there is no guarantee that they will be successful in a different country than the one of origin. Madu (1989) argues that any organization that plans to export its technology would benefit from the recognition of socio-economic factors that influence the success of the technology’s introduction in the new country. This study therefore aims to identify the key factors that could either hinder or facilitate the introduction of the hybrid potato seed (HPS) technology in Ethiopian potato sector, in the perspective of the key stakeholders of the industry. In order to guide the research, the agricultural innovation system approach is adopted. According to this approach, agricultural innovation is not only about the adoption of a new technology, rather it implies a process of balancing new technical practices and social, economic and institutional changes (Klerkx et al., 2012). Results are therefore classified into technological, institutional and societal factors.

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