Potato farmers in five African counties can now access certified planting material after a Dutch-based horticultural firm introduced new technology to mass produce high yielding and disease resistant seed varieties in Nakuru, Kenya.
Agrico East Africa, located on a 1,300-acre farm at Olrongai in Kenya has already received certification from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) to embark on multiplication of seeds towards meeting the increasing demand among local growers estimated at over 133 metric tonnes monthly.
“Currently, we are producing 40 tonnes of seeds per 20 hectares. There is a severe shortage of certified potato seed variety in the country, a situation that leads to poor yields and crop losses.
At the moment, we are planting to multiply the seeds for the short rainy period of November and December. We expect the seeds to be ready for harvesting by end of July then we give them one month dormancy period so that by September they will be ready for farmers,” said Kaituyu Sungura, Agrico East Africa agronomist.
The three potato varieties multiplied here are Destiny, Markies and Manitou. Apart from the three varieties, the government has approved 13 varieties for importation from Netherlands.