The Agrico East Africa team has been working hard the past few months to produce video tutorials on ‘Profitable Potato Farming in Kenya’. They did this in an effort to continue their work of rendering agronomic support to smallholder farmers in Kenya, despite the debilitating COVID-19 restrictions that was imposed on Kenyan citizens during the pandemic.
Agrico East Africa (EA), operating as Potato Services Africa Limited, has been working in Kenya since 2015 as a merchant of Kenyan-produced certified potato seed.
Corien Herweijer, Business Development Manager for Agrico East Africa told Potato News Today that she and her team managed over the last 5 years to develop a profitable and sustainable value chain in Kenya – providing certified potato seed to Kenyan smallholder potato farmers who were struggling to get access to good quality certified seed and other inputs. Corien says that according to estimates, only about 5% of the annual demand for certified potato seed is currently being met.
“Kenya is estimated to have about 800,000 smallholder farmers, and each of them operate on an average of less than 1 acre / season,” Corien says. “In Kenya, potato is the second most important agricultural crop after the staple food maize,” she says.
“However, looking at production statistics over the years, Kenyan potato smallholder farmers have always struggled to attain a high level of productivity and therefore lack profitability with their potato crops. Studies show that Kenyan farmers achieve an average production level of only 3-4 tons per acre, whereas a yield of at least 8-10 tons is needed for a farmer to break even and then starting to make a profit.”