The Kenyan federal government will build a Ksh117 million cold-room store in Muchorwe to protect potato farmers against post-harvest losses and possible exploitation by brokers.
The cold-room designed to hold four million kilograms of potatoes will be equipped with an information centre and storage areas which will prolong the shelf life of the harvest by four to six months and maintain consistency in quality.
Nakuru County Agriculture Chief Officer Kibet Maina said the project to be financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries under the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive and Growth Project (NARIGP) will enable farmers to bulk the commodity and hence improve their bargaining power for better prices.
Addressing a potato value chain consultative meeting that brought together farmers, marketers and agriculture officials at the County’s headquarters, Maina revealed that potato farmers in the county lose up to 40 percent of their total produce in post-harvest losses. It is estimated that the county produces over 400,000 bags of potatoes.
Nakuru is among the largest producers of the crop in Kenya with the County accounting for 18.9 percent of national production.
According to an article on kbc.co.ke¸ Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock County Executive Committee Member Dr Immaculate Maina observed that shortage of certified potato seeds had stagnated production of the crop at seven tons per hectare against a potential of 40 tons.