ZOMBO. West Nile potato platform has hatched plans to partner with financial institutions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to popularize and drive its agenda to make potato among the top priority crops grown by farmers in the region.

The West Nile potato platform is the brainchild of the Uganda national potato platform that was formed in 2013 in Kampala to advocate for favourable policies that favour potato in the areas of value chain.

Mr Emmy Kizito Kakura, the chairman West Nile Potato Platform said during a stakeholders meeting held at Sky Lux hotel in Paidha, Zombo district on Thursday that the platform will help in promoting the interests of potato farmers in the region.

"We have this potato platform so that we advocate for favourable policies that recognize potato as one of the priority crops that government has to include in its budget", Kakura said.

Kakura said the West Nile potato platform will among others help in mobilizing farmers to form groups, source out quality seeds, bulk their produce, market jointly and also provide linkage to a better market.

"We have a number of benefits under this platform all geared towards giving the farmers an opportunity to embrace massive production of potato as one of the priority crops", he explained.

He implored farmers not to focus on many agricultural enterprises saying it lessens their concentration on better production and market.

He said other crops have been promoted at the expense of potato and yet potato is widely grown and has transformed the lives of many farmers in the country.

Mr James Bulegeya Komayombi, the chairman Uganda National Potato Platform said the commitment exhibited by the leadership of the West Nile potato platform is a clear indication of success that awaits potato farmers in the region.

"Am happy that this platform has got partners and members who have the passion to promote potato as one of the priority crops", he said.

Kamyombi pledged to lobby for support from development partners to ensure the West Nile Potato platform meets its target to mobilize more farmers to embrace potato growing and making market available for potato.

The meeting was attended by financial institutions, NGOs, farmers’ representative among others who all vowed to partner and work for the development of the potato sub-sector in the region.

Formed in 2018, the West Nile Potato platform is the brainchild of the Uganda National Potato Platform formed in 2013.

The West Nile Potato platform now boasts of growth in membership from 20 to 1400 farmer groups that have subscribed to the platform from across the West Nile region.