Africa, Sustainability

Kenyan small-holder potato farmers to benefit from climate-smart innovations

More than 20,000 small-holder potato farmers in Kenya’s Nakuru County will benefit from several programmes aligned to climate-smart innovations and technologies to help them increase potatoes production both for domestic consumption and for export.

According to a news report by the Kenya News Agency (KNA), Governor Susan Kihika said her administration was working to equip agricultural extension officers working with small holder farmers to train the farmers on modern farming practices that will mitigate against risks like drought, floods, climate-induced pests and diseases.

The governor regretted that lack of certified seeds and poor marketing strategies have continued to hamper the lucrative potato trade in Nakuru County adding that scarcity of certified potato seeds in Kenya had stagnated production of the crop at seven tons per hectare against a potential of 40 tons.

In Nakuru, there are about 20,000 farmers growing potatoes on more than 38,000 acres of land with a total production of 160,000 tonnes of assorted varieties being grown.

Speaking when she toured SimpliFine potato processing facility in the County, Ms Kihika urged farmers to buy the right seeds if they hope to have a competitive edge in the market.

“The quality of potato seeds is critical because bad seeds will give you poor yields and this will not fetch you good money in the market. As second in production of potatoes in the country, Nakuru County is deliberate in getting farmers to plant the right varieties for the market,” said the Governor

The governor who was flanked by SimpliFine’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Carlyon who indicated that her administration was forging public-private partnerships aimed at supporting farmers to access new markets, both domestically and internationally, which can provide them with better prices and more stable incomes.

She added that the county government will continue to focus on the development of agriculture and the creation of new opportunities for local farmers adding that under her leadership the devolved unit was supporting activities aligned to climate-smart innovations to ensure that farmers adopt climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies which are geared towards cushioning them against the challenges they are facing.

She said they were using various forums, including farmers’ field days, to disseminate information to farmers to address climate change challenges with an ultimate goal of translating the information, knowledge and new technologies into increased incomes for smallholder farmers and alleviate poverty.

Initiatives by the County government to improve potato farming, she stated, were addressing the entire chain from soil testing, soil management, quality seeds, best husbandry, to marketing in addition to improved value addition including starch and animal feed production. In Kenya, potatoes are the second most consumed staple food after maize.

Source: Kenya News Agency (KNA). Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Kenya News Agency (KNA)

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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