As an integral part of the ‘Big Four Agenda', the humble potato plays an important role in Kenya’s food and nutrition security plan. Approximately 800,000 smallholder farmers and another 3 million people working as transporters, distributors, processors, vendors, retailers and exporters derive their livelihoods from the potato.
The National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) estimates the annual potato harvest in 2019 at Sh50 billion. Yet farm income growth from potato is troubled by low yields: 8-15 tons/ha, which amounts to about half its potential.
To combat this, the International Potato Center (CIP), a research for development organization, is working with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), NPCK, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (KEPHIS), county governments, and the private sector to strengthen the potato sector in Kenya. Key achievements include:
Increased production and access to certified seed: When combined with good agricultural practices (GAPs), the use of certified seed can double yields. To rump us seed production, CIP jointly with KALRO have introduced rapid seed multiplication technologies such as aeroponics and apical rooted cuttings to supplement the existing technologies for the production of starter materials.
Public and private seed multipliers are now producing certified seed in strategic locations to facilitate easy access by farmers. With the majority of the trained seed multipliers seeking certification from KEPHIS, high-quality seed will soon be easily accessible by farmers closer to their farms.
Improved potato varieties: Over the last seven years, over 30 high yielding varieties with either processing attributes, climate-resilient traits, and pest and disease resistance have been released by KEPHIS. Find out about available varieties on the NPCK website - https://npck.org/available-seed
Seed storage technologies: Seed multipliers have adopted diffused light stores, a low-cost seed potato storage technology, thereby reducing storage losses while availing high-quality seed.
[ Sh100 = € 0,78 ]