Analysis of production and marketing of Irish potato in Mbulu and Babati districts in Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Mbulu and Babati are among the districts that produce Irish potatoes in Tanzania. The crop is important in the two districts for household food security and income because it takes a short period to mature compared to other crops like maize. The present study intended to fill the information gap related to the reason behind the low production of Irish potatoes in Mbulu and Babati districts. The specific objectives of the study were: to determine factors affecting production of Irish potatoes; to determine factors affecting marketing of Irish potatoes; to describe Irish potato marketing channels and to assess Irish potato marketing margin for the key market channels. A cross sectional single-visit survey involving 80 farmers and 40 traders from Murray, Imboru, Arri, Dongobesh, Madunga and Bashnet wards was conducted. Descriptive Statistics, Multiple Linear Regression, market channels description and market margin analysis were used for addressing the specific objectives. The findings show that: bacteria wilt and Irish potato blight diseases, inadequate improved seeds, lack of extension services and problem in accessing inputs were the major challenges that caused low production of Irish potatoes in the study area. Furthermore, the findings show that poor infrastructure, perishability of the crop, lack of unified standard and poor harvesting technologies were the factors affecting marketing of Irish potatoes. Apart from that, the findings show that there were about six Irish potato marketing channels in the study area. On the side of Irish potatoes marketing margin, the findings show that food vendors in channel II that consists of producer and food vendors were the ones who got the highest marketing margin (of 63% of the total gross margin). Basing on these findings it can be concluded that low production of Irish potatoes in Mbulu and Babati districts was due to poor farming practices and management and long marketing channels which lead to low return to farmers. It is therefore, recommended that, the government and Agriculture Institution should provide education to farmers on good farming practices and management, to provide improved seed and inputs subsidies to farmers in order to improve Irish potato production in Mbulu and Babati districts.



Irish potatoes, Mbulu district, Babati district, Analysis of production