In Kenya, a Maasai woman becomes a potato seed production pioneer

In Kenya, a Maasai woman becomes a potato seed production pioneer
October 24, 2011

A CIP project in Kenya and other African nations is fostering private adoption of a three-generation seed multiplication strategy.

Combined with improved knowledge and skills the project should lead to average yield increases of 20% for over 15,000 smallholder potato growers.
 

(Click to enlarge) Christine Nashuru and her husband in their seed potato field

Christine Nashuru and her husband in their seed potato field



Christine Nashuru cuts the figure of a traditional Maasai woman, tall and shy. She lives in the Transmara District of Kenya, situated in the southwestern part of the Rift Valley Province.

Due to traditional values, Christine did not access formal education. But thanks to a training course led by the International Potato Center (CIP), she has pioneered the production of seed potato in her district.

In 2010, Christine sold over 10.3 tons of seed potato, worth over US$4,000, and she is expecting more than 80 tons of seed from her 4 acres for 2011.

This is a very surprising role for a Maasai woman.

By tradition, the pastoralist Maasai are consummate cattle-herders. Cattle are a critical symbol of wealth and pride, as well as the main source of food and material. "I hope your cattle are well", is a standard greeting.

But potatoes are taking on increased importance in Transmara District, and in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Since 1994, potato production in Sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled. In Transmara, it began in 2000, with potato grown as a kitchen garden crop. Farmers bought tubers from the local markets and used them as seed. However, potato yields of small-scale farmers in the region fall far short of their potential. The farmers face an inadequate supply of high-quality seed, coupled with their own limited awareness of better seed management practices.

In August 2009, Christine was selected to attend a course on potato seed production held in Nairobi and organized by CIP. She was one of 57 seed multipliers attending from outlying districts. The course focused on the use of three-generation (3-G) seed multiplication strategy.
 
(Click to enlarge) Maasai women trained by Christine Nashuru, peeling potatoes

Maasai women trained by Christine Nashuru, peeling potatoes

The 3G seed strategy is geared to producing large numbers of minitubers through very rapid multiplication. The point is to yield sufficient, high-quality potato seed in three field generations, instead of the usual seven required. The rapid multiplication means production costs are lowered, and there is less chance of contamination in the seed from disease or pests.

CIP is leading 3-G projects in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, in partnership with private and public partners at the national and regional levels. The collaboration with the private sector is key for increasing capacity, and broadening adoption of quality seed. This in turn helps accelerate the availability of improved varieties that are more adapted to local conditions and demands.

The project is fostering private adoption of the three-generation seed multiplication strategy and improved knowledge and skills leading to average yield increases of 20% for over 15,000 smallholder growers on potato production technologies and best practices.

As for Christine, ever since her training, she has never looked back. Not only is she driving better seed production in her district. She also has trained farmers in her region, mostly women, on seed and ware potato production and utilization.

Diana Keyua, one of the farmers trained by Christine, said, “Christine is now a darling of the village;she is like light put in a hill for all to see her success. In fact she has made us access seed at our doorstep and has trained us in potato production. Furthermore we now feed our families with the nutritive potatoes.”
 
(Click picture to watch video) Growing seed potatoes in Kenya, using aeroponics (18 minutes video)

Growing seed potatoes in Kenya, using aeroponics (18 minutes video)

Like to receive news like this by email? Join and Subscribe!
Join Our Telegram Channel for regular updates!
Sponsored Content
Pan al vapor chino incluye la papa como alimento básico
June 25, 2015

Pan al vapor chino incluye la papa como alimento básico

China ha convertido exitosamente a la papa en un ingrediente del pan al vapor, luego de dos años de esfuerzos que siguieron a una estrategia nacional de convertir la papa en un elemento básico de la dieta diaria de los chinos, anunció el martes el Ministerio de Agricultura.
19 organizaciones europeas denuncian en el PE la falta de disponibilidad de productos para la protección de las plantas
June 25, 2015

19 organizaciones europeas denuncian en el PE la falta de disponibilidad de productos para la protección de las plantas

En un encuentro celebrado esta semana en el Parlamento Europeo, las organizaciones representativas de la cadena alimentaria han mostrado su preocupación por la actual legislación de protección de las plantas y el impacto que ésta provoca en la cadena alimentaria.
España: La primera empresa distribuidora por Internet vendió cinco toneladas
June 11, 2015

España: La primera empresa distribuidora de papa por Internet vendió cinco toneladas

La primera empresa ourensana que comercializa papa (o patata) de A Limia por Internet a cualquier punto de España, Patatas Ama, cerró su primera campaña de actividad tras comercializar cinco toneladas de tubérculo, de las variedades agria y daifla.
Sponsored Content