Kenya has applied for a Sh656 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost research on potato seed production. The aim is to improve the current production, cutting the nation’s reliance on imports. At this point in time, Kenya relies on Netherlands for importation of potato seed for production as the country hardly produces enough to be supplied to farmers.
“We do not produce enough potato seed in the country and we always have to import for multiplication before we distribute it to farmers. With these funds, we shall be able to produce good quality tubers and produce enough for our needs,” Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said.
Prof Hamadi also explained how Kenya is relying on countries like Tanzania to meet the Irish potatoes demand as the current variety that farmers grow does not meet the required quality for making food such as French fries.
An article on businessdailyafrica.com explains how Kenya’s seed demand stands at 30,000 tonnes annually but the country only produces 6,700 tonnes, with most farmers recycling crop from the previous season to use as seed, a move that has been blamed for the shortage that the country faces. The country produces about two million tonnes of potatoes annually even though the country has the potential of yielding up to eight million tonnes.
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