Potato growers in five counties of Kenya can now access certified planting material after a Dutch-based horticultural firm introduced new technology to mass produce high yielding and disease resistant seed varieties in Nakuru.
Agrico East Africa which sits on a 1,300-acre farm at Olrongai within Rongai Sub-County has already received certification from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) to embark on multiplication of seeds towards meeting the increasing demand among local growers estimated at over 133 tonnes monthly.
At the moment, growers are planting to multiply the seeds for the short rainy period of November and December. It is expected that the seeds will be ready for harvesting by end of July. Then they will get one month dormancy period so that by September they will be ready for farmers.
The three potato varieties multiplied here are Destiny, Markies and Manitou. Apart from the three varieties, the government has approved 13 varieties for importation from the Netherlands. The agronomist assures that production rates for all the varieties are high with proper farm practices.
Agrico East Africa has also set up similar operations in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.