Yesterday, the Irish Embassy in Nairobi hosted a meeting to review the “excellent progress” of the Irish Aid funded Potato Capacity Building Project in Nyandarua.
This initiative is benefiting 3,000 smallholder farmers via a public private partnership between the Irish Embassy, IFDC, Nyandarua County Government, Sustainable Food Systems Ireland, IPM Potato Group, Teagasc, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and Kevian Kenya Limited.
Potato is an important crop in Nyandarua County for food security, employment and income generation. The county contributes 33% of the total potato crop produced in Kenya with the potato value chain directly and indirectly supporting 131,697 farm families in the county.
The potatoes produced in the County have a net worth over Ksh 7.0 billion, but the crop, which is second to dairy in the county, is faced with a myriad of challenges along this value chain which have led to low average yields of about 8 to10 tonnes per hectare which is way below the achievable levels of 20-40 tonnes.
To address this issue, the strategy is aiming to guide the development partners and stakeholders in aligning development initiatives and interventions in order to achieve accelerated growth and development in the industry. It is believed this will create synergy in tackling of these challenges for the benefit of all actors in the value chains including smallholder farmers who form the majority of potato producers in the County.