In Kenya, potatoes are a key staple food, second only to maize. Yet its potato value chain has been underdeveloped for decades. This has been acknowledged by the Kenyan government.
Over the past years, it has been investing in the potato sector in order to realize an increase of output per hectare and a growth in potato smallholdersâ€™ income. Last year, even under harsh climatic conditions, the pay-off was witnessed in reality: the gross income of smallholders potato farmers were 9 times higher than usual.
Input suppliers and other industry stakeholders were involved in an integrated and coordinated approach to assist the farmers. Potato smallholders were provided access to, such as modern and affordable seed potatoes, fertilisers, chemicals, technology, knowledge, markets and finance.
Agrico East Africa supplied certified potato seed tubers of modern potato varieties, matching off-takersâ€™ high quality requirements.
The basic fertilizer program was modified using innovations from the project partner YARA East Africa.
Control of pests and diseases was optimised through Bayerâ€™s latest innovations.
Quipbank Trust Ltd. supported the smallholders with modern ploughing, harrowing and ridging equipment.
Carrefour, a renowned large retailer, purchased the produced potatoes from smallholders.And last but not least, Siraji Sacco stepped into the project with micro-financing support.
Moreover, the whole project was implemented with the help of great support from Agricultural Extension Services staff from county governments.
Demonstration plots, established on half-acre holdings in Narok, Meru and Molo Counties, were used as a live classroom.
Throughout the entire potato growing cycle, all partners transferred their expertise to a total of 2,000 potato smallholders in the use of modern certified seed potatoes, the correct application of fertilizer and crop protection products to improve yields.