THE NETHERLANDS EMBASSY in Nairobi will next week launch the Potato Value Chain Afrika Portal in a bid to support farmers in the country.
The portal will be launched at the Eldoret University Agricultural Fair, which is set for September 24-26 in Eldoret.
Agriculture Counsellor Bert Rikken said the crop would boost food security following the numerous challenges facing maize sector. With over 300 registered varieties, Netherlands is the world’s top seed potato exporter.
In the last two years, 31 of her seed varieties have been registered in Kenya
Potato is Kenya’s second most important food crop, after maize, yet the country harvests a paltry seven tonnes per hectare despite potential to raise productivity to a minimum of 40 tonnes.
Challenges facing the sector include lack of certified seeds, few varieties suitable for the various growing regions and paucity of storage facilities. Others are lack of clear distribution chains from producers to consumers, shortage of potatoes for processing, poor crop husbandry and potato specific farming practices and manual production methods.
The Netherlands government, through the project, is supporting a potato project, which focuses on the introduction, multiplication and production of new potato varieties.