In the February issue of Harare News, we reported on the increase in the practice of growing potatoes in sacks as opposed to growing them directly in the soil. We outlined the advantages of such a practice – in the main that less land is required. While this might be true, Charles Dhewa says that the market has different ideas.
The euphoria about sack potatoes has gripped Zimbabweans without some measure of verification or a sense of where it has worked on a large scale. As part of our routine work with the market, eMkambo conducted a survey on the performance of potatoes grown in sacks. This is what traders and consumers at Mbare Musika had to say:he performance of sack potatoes on the market is vivid example of what happens when farmers grow crops without consulting the market. Farmers should not just worry about feeding their crops with the correct fertiliser but also be sure to feed their own minds with the correct, useful information/knowledge. Failure to do so will lead to a well grown crop without a market.
The potatoes have too much water.
When boiled, the centre of the potato remains hard as if uncooked.
As a test of quality, traders cut potatoes into two halves and try to stick the two pieces together. Field potatoes stick together easily while sack potatoes don’t stick together. This shows poor quality.
The taste is not good, perhaps due to too much fertiliser concentration in a sack during production.
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Charles Dhewa is CEO of Knowledge Transfer Africa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Wikimedia Commons