Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) is currently conducting trials on new potato varieties in Eastern Province in order to boost the country's potato production. The new varieties being tested, ‘cyerekezo’ and ‘twihaze’, have demonstrated high adaptability in hot regions and are suitable for irrigated land. The Eastern Province has recorded irrigation on 42,218 hectares of land. According to Theophile Ndacyayisenga, a potato scientist at RAB, the two dominant varieties can provide a high yield of 25-40 tonnes per hectare. ALSO READ: Farmers call for more potato seed multipliers to curb rising food prices The new initiative aligns with the goal of expanding cultivated land as the country aims to reach 63,328 ha of Irish potato for the 2024 Season A. In an interview with The New Times, Florence Uwamahoro, Deputy Director General of Agriculture at RAB, revealed plans to expand the cultivation of Irish potatoes into new areas of the Eastern Province and other regions across the country. Potatoes are primarily grown in volcanic regions, including Burera, Musanze, Nyabihu, and Rubavu districts, as well as in parts of the Southern Province in Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe districts. ALSO READ: Why your potato meal comes at a higher cost “We are promoting potato farming in the Eastern Province as a response to land declination for farming in some parts of the country,” Uwamahoro said. “Until now, those varieties under trial are promising even though the Eastern Province faces drought due to the hot climate. So, we are looking for good varieties to be grown here as priority crops since the area has a lot of land, which is not under pressure.” Uwamahoro said RAB is “putting more efforts in Southern Province, especially Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe, to increase their production as well.” Residents of Nyagatare report that the region continues to struggle to obtain potatoes, given the high prices in the market. “We get Irish potatoes from Musanze at high prices,” Ildephonse Nangwahafi, a resident of Nyagatare sector, told The New Times. ALSO: Govt changes pastureland strategy in Eastern Province Recent data from the Rwanda National Institute of Statistics (NISR) shows that the cultivated land for Irish potatoes was estimated at 48,210 hectares, compared to 52,858 ha in the previous Season B, indicating a nine percent reduction.