Technology advancements boost potato production thanks govt. and Stakeholders

Technology advancements boost potato production thanks govt. and Stakeholders

By Malachi Motano

The concerted efforts by national and county governments, private sector and development partners is seeing targeted interventions being rolled out to boost Kenya’s potato sector by addressing major challenges which include shortage of quality seeds, high pest and disease incidence, sub-optimal production practices and poor marketing infrastructure among others.

With the International Potato Center (CIP), a research for development organization working with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), NPCK, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (KEPHIS), county governments, and the private sector to strengthen the potato sector in Kenya, the sector has witnessed increased production and access to certified seed.

Other developments from the collaboration included production of improved potato varieties, adoption of seed storage technologies, access to weather information, adoption of best practices, establishment of Viazi Soko, a digital information platform for farmers, better markets and potato regulation.

The crop (potato) is playing a significant role in Kenya’s food and nutrition security plan-part which is part of the Big Four Agenda. It’s nutritious, delivering iron, potassium, and Vitamin C to millions.

The crop contributes to the livelihood of about 800,000 smallholder farmers in the country together with estimated three million people who include transporters, distributors, processors, vendors, retailers, and exporters.
According to the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), the annual potato harvest in 2019 was worth Sh50 billion.

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