In the bid to gracefully increase agricultural products and boost its farmers’earnings, the Nakuru government has unveiled plans to boost potato farming in the county.
According to Deputy Governor Erick Korir, Nakuru County will work with KEPHIS and Agricultural Development Corporation to improve the country’s potato seeds used by farmers.
He said this would help the county to deal with production challenges by lack of clean and certified seeds that has highly affected potato production in the region since the crop remains one of its major source of income.
As it is known, agriculture is the pillar of Kenya’s economy followed by tourism and other sectors and Potato farming is one of those businesses that has helped in upholding the country’s economic strength.
Potato production in Kenya is currently worth about KSH50 billion. This figure can be increased as the government enacts measures to improve production.
The potato has the capability of providing cheap and nutritionally rich staple food requirements for the country’s fast growing population, especially, since the main staple food, maize, has its yields declining due to a host of factors including Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND), increasing soil acidity and changing land use patterns.
Aside Nakuru, other counties equally producing potatoes include Bomet, Bungoma, Elgeiyo-Marakwet, Kiambu, Meru, Narok, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Taita-Taveta, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, and West Pokot.
Meanwhile, DG was with KEPHIS managing director Esther Kimani during an agricultural field day in Sirikwa ADC farm on Friday.
Persistent seed shortage has continued to affect Potato Farming in Kenya. It is for this reason that the Agricultural Development Corporation(ADC) is developing new methods to grow potatoes in Kenya.
But, Kimani said that seed quality regulator recently released 38 new potato varieties which she urged farmers to make use of.
“We are also planning to set up cold storage facilities to address the fluctuating prices,” she said, adding that there are 52 certified potato seed varieties in the country that farmers should get from ADC offices.
Benard Ngeno, a farmer from Keringet, said the high cost of fertilizers, lack of certified seeds and exploitative prices remain a challenge.
Nakuru government has revealed new plans to help Kuresoi South potato farmers. Government says this would help increase the county’s earnings