Yesterday, Deputy Irish Ambassador Lisa Doherty hosted a meeting with the International Potato Center Director General, Barbara Wells, and Regional Director, Paul Demo, at the Embassy to discuss Irish Aid support for potato farmers.
The meeting also covered plans for regional coordination in 2019 with partners National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), IPM Potato Group, Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority Teagasc, Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI) and Irish NGO Vita.
Quality seed is often difficult to access for rural smallholders in Kenya, forcing many farmers to rely on uncertified seed potato, which comes with the risk of using seeds from crops with a history of disease. This can result in low yields that average 7.3 tonnes per hectare or total crop failure.
Last year, to jumpstart potato production in Kenya, the International Potato Center established a network of Decentralized Seed Multipliers (DSMs) to make quality seed potato more readily available at the village level.