The partnership between the National Potato Council of Kenya and Corteva Agriscience targets to introduce new technologies and train smallholder farmers on how to improve potato yields through the use of quality seeds, resilient and improved varieties, pest and disease management, post-harvest management, and record-keeping.
Already, seven demonstration plots have been set up in potato growing regions of Kinangop, Olkalau, Mau Narok, Bomet Central, Kieni East, Kieni West, and Ainabkoi sub-counties.
Francis Karanja, Corteva Agriscience EA Sales Leader:
“The collaboration with the National Potato Council of Kenya meant to help farmers increase productivity and income and ensure farmers have access to best farming practices.”
“The products and information we share help farmers manage potato pests and diseases, incorporate the latest advances in sustainability and technology into their daily operations.”
“The technology we are bringing on board, which incorporates best agronomic practices, modern technology to provide scientific control of fungal diseases and safe use of chemicals is meant to increase the potato yields per hectare in the smallholdings significantly.”
Francis Karanja, Corteva Agriscience EA Sales Leader(L) with Peter Chesum, a potato farmer, during a farmer’s field day in Ainabkoi Subcounty in Eldoret
More than 400 farmers have been trained on recommended practices such as soil testing services, apical cuttings technology, seeds selection, and use of quality varieties/certified seeds, crop nutrition, crop protection and spray service provision.
According to Wachira Kagoungo from the NPCK:
“The challenges facing Potato farming in Kenya could only be tackled through a Public-Private Partnership approach which brings stakeholders in the industry and value chain together.”
“Our objective at the council is to assist farmers to produce high yields per hectare, free of diseases and pests. Our roe will be to mobilise potato farmers and other stakeholders in the potato value chain to benefit from this technology and other measures aimed at increasing smallholders' incomes.”
NPCK says pests and diseases are responsible for up to 80 percent of production losses in Kenya.
Kenya has been forced to import large quantities of potatoes, especially from neighboring countries to bridge the deficit due to meager investments in developing the value chain.
The sub-sector contributes an estimated Kshs 3 billion annually to the economy from close to 800,000 smallholder farmers who produce 1.5 million tonnes in about 161,000 hectares of land.