Technology to offer quality potato seeds - Daily Nation

Technology to offer quality potato seeds

Tuesday September 18 2018

Farmers sort their harvested seed potatoes in a farm in Njoro.

Farmers sort their harvested seed potatoes in a farm in Njoro. The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with a private company, Hygrotech, is now developing a new seed potato technology dubbed True Potato Seed. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By BONIFACE MWANGI
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Scientists are working on a new technology through which farmers will be able to get potato seeds, doing away with reliance on tubers seeds.
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with a private company, Hygrotech, is developing the technology dubbed True Potato Seed (TPS).

The project is being undertaken at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro), Tigoni.

Nancy Ng’ang’a, a research officer at the Kalro centre, says the technology entails the use of two or three parental lines which are crossed to produce a progeny.

The final potato plant flowers and produces tomato-like fruits containing seeds which are later harvested, seeds extracted, dried, treated and packaged.

They are later sowed in a nursery to obtain seedlings, which are transplanted to the field. The seedlings take four to six weeks in the nursery while the plants take three months to mature, she explains.

If planted using the right directives, TPS can yield up to 50 tonnes per hectare and are resistance to diseases such as potato leaf roll virus.

The tuber dormancy is medium and it has a dry matter content of 21.9 per cent. It yields best in areas of 500-2,500 metres above sea level and produces white flowers.

One of the advantages of TPS, according to her, is that it requires 20-25g of seeds to plant per hectare compared to two tonnes of seed tubers