County to benefit from a potato propagation project

Farmers visiting a potato farm on an educational tour in Nyeri County.

Nyeri County is among six other counties in the country set to benefit from a potato seed propagation project aimed at increasing the acreage under the crop.

The six will receive 25 tons of potato seed for planting to produce certified seeds to be availed to farmers for planting.

The basic seeds will be given to farmer Common Interest Groups (CIGs) who in turn are expected to produce certified seeds to be distributed to local farmers.

Other counties to benefit from the initiative by the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) and which will be implemented by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) include Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bomet, Nyandarua, and Taita Taveta.

The initiative is expected to add 2,500 metric tons of certified potato into the national seed supply annually in the next two years.

Sixty agricultural personnel in all the six counties have so far been trained on climate smart potato production practices with bias on seed production and distribution.

A similar sh. 1 million project launched in Nyeri county back in 2018 yielded disastrous results after farmers failed to realize the envisaged yields.

The project hailed as a game changer in potato farming in the region saw some 64 farmer groups supplied with 360 bags of potato seeds for planting on 22.4 acres of land. However, only a paltry 94 bags were realized after harvesting.

The county agriculture department then conceded that the free potato seed project did not perform as earlier projected.

The department’s officials blamed the poor returns on poor weather which in turn spawned various diseases and pests.