by American Phytopathological Society
Farmers rely on seed systems for access to high-quality, disease-free planting material at the start of the season. Good seed systems ensure access to seed for a variety of crops that are affordable and fully available at the start of the season. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for many smallholder farmers in developing countries, where seed systems often serve as conduits for the spread of crop disease.
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are an important source of Vitamin A and a staple crop for Uganda, which is why researchers analyzed a sweet potato system in Northern Uganda for its resilience to potential introduction of a pathogen. This research evaluated the important sellers and villages in the Gulu region, analyzing their potential role for spreading disease and distributing improved varieties of seed. The research team included scientists at University of Florida and Gulu University, as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.