Kenya has applied for a Sh656 million (approx US$6 mil) grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost research on potato seed production and cut reliance on imports. The fund will be used to increase the availability of certified seed in the country and cut the imports of tubers, which has been blamed for introducing foreign pests in the country, according to a report by Business Daily.
At the moment, 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.
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 to produce up to eight million tonnes.
Source: Business Daily. Full report here