Kenya’s potato farmers have a reason to celebrate with the introduction of a new potato variety that is not only resistant to pests but also high in yield. As KTN News Kenya reports in this YouTube video, this variety is globally sought after by fast-food eateries, both in Kenya and internationally.
The launch of the new variety is reportedly expected to introduce contractual farming between farmers and buyers, ensuring a ready market for their produce.
According to the KTN News report, the new potato variety was introduced to Kenyan farmers through a training facilitated by the Potato Consortium. This consortium was formed to assist potato farmers in increasing their yield and reducing post-harvest losses.
The initiative was a response to an outcry by Kenyans when the fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), announced they had run out of potatoes and were forced to import.
The introduction of this new variety comes as a relief to local farmers who were struggling to find a market for their produce. With this new variety, potato farmers are hopeful of reaping big benefits. One of the advantages of contractual farming is the assurance of a direct connection with the market without any blockages. Farmers can have a year-long contract with a fixed price throughout the year, providing a guarantee against price drops.
Experts at the launch highlighted that the new variety differs from previous ones in terms of yield, resistance to pests, and maturity time. This is seen as a game-changer for potato farmers in the country. The new variety, referred to as a multi-purpose variety, can be used for chips, crepes, and table consumption. It has a yield of 16 tons per acre.
Just like in the coffee sector, potato farmers will now sell their produce directly to the buyers, eliminating the need for middlemen. This change is expected to reverse the trend of brokers becoming rich at the expense of farmers. The introduction of this new variety is also seen as a way to attract younger people into farming by making it financially rewarding.
The spouse of Cabinet Secretary Tessie Musalia is urging Kenyans to embrace this new development in the agricultural sector. The introduction of the new potato variety is a significant step towards ensuring food security in the country and improving the livelihoods of potato farmers.
Source: KTN News Kenya
Summary article and video transcription: Potato News Today
Image: Credit KTN News Kenya
Also see: KFC Kenya runs out of imported fries, now considers local suppliers ‘who meet standards’