Stem cutting propagation of Frafra Potato (Solenostemon rotundifolius Poir.)


Problem that technology is supposed to solve :

Lack of adequate quality planting materials of Frafra Potato at planting due to poor storage of the tubers. The farmers are therefore not able to establish more than 1/8th of an acre despite the high income they can get from cultivation of Frafra potato as compared to the other crops. Again, Frafra potato serve as an important food security crop among the farmers in Upper East and Upper West Regions in northern Ghana, yet they are not able to produce it on large acreages due to lack of quality planting materials.

Technical characteristics of the technology :

The technology involves establishment of pre-season nursery plots close to the house right after the dormancy of the harvested tubers is broken. This is usually about three months after harvesting.

The pre-season nursery is relatively small, about 25m2 plot of land or less which can be fenced and managed at the back yard of the house. The nursery is usually watered with wastewater from the house where there is not source of water close by.

It usually takes three months, March to May, to produce well established frafra potato plants with multiple stems.

Upon the onset of the rains by mid-June, the well vegetative grown Frafra potato plants at the nursery are used to establish the permanent fields. The cutting involves removal of the multiple stems that are shouting in the air leaving those that are in direct contact with the soil. The remaining plants with the stems that are in contact with the soil are fertilized for regeneration. And the regenerated multiple stems will be ready in two to three weeks for cutting again.

  • The cut multiple stems are divided into pieces of planting materials with each piece having two nodes. About 50 or more pieces of stems with two nodes can be obtained from a well-established plant from the nursery which can also produce about 20 or more planting materials from the regenerations after the first cutting.
  • The field establishment of the stem cutting has been found to be 80% to 100% as against 30% to 50% with planting with tubers.

Economic characteristics of the technology

- Acquisition cost :

It will cost less than GHS100 for a farmer to raise a nursery at his/her backyard which can establish about one hectare permanent field.

- Economic profitability :

  • Large scale productions to take advantage of the high income from sales of Frafra potato
  • High field establishment rate to maximise optimum field population which will result in high productivity.
  • Early field establishment to maximise the use of available resources to increase productivity.
  • The cost of multiple planting and refilling associated with tuber planting is saved with the stem cutting due to high rate of field establishment.

- Comparative advantage :

  •  About 50 or more plant stands can be obtained from a well-established plant from the pre-season nursery as against one stand from tubers planting.
  • The field establishment of the stem cutting has been found to be 80% to 100% as against 30% to 50% with planting with tubers.
  • Large scale production of Frafra potato can easily be achieved with the stem cutting propagation which is not practically easy with planting with tubers due to lack of quality tubers for planting because of poor stage of the tubers.

Limits of the technology :

Prolong dormancy of the tubers after harvest could serve as a limitation to early establishment of the pre-season nursery. However, research activities have be planned to induce short dormancy period of the tubers after harvest.


Technical sheet