The potato production in Kenya’s Narok county has increased by 300 percent in the last year, all due to the introduction of mechanised farming in January. Over the same period, post-harvest losses have dropped by 90 percent due to a venture among farmers, county government and donors.
These figures emerged on Saturday when the European Union supported farmers with a Sh51 million grant to the county to improve the ongoing mechanisation. Under the AgriF1 Kenya Challenge Fund, the money will also be spent to construct a potato cold storage facility to reduce post-harvest losses.
Self Help Africa Country Director Rebecca Amukhoye said farmers will be trained on mechanisation and conservation agriculture techniques especially conservation tillage. She said local company Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) has been contracted to provide the services following the grant.
Amukhoye said the fund would help build the capacity of smallholder farmers to practice environmentally sustainable and climate-smart agriculture: “More than 10,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the initiative," she said, adding that the fund grant will help farmers modernise and export produce.
According to the-star.co.ke¸ the funds will also help smallholder farmers access certified potato seeds, credit and marketing services.