The government has provided for free 25 metric tonnes (500 bags of 50kg) of potato basic seeds for planting to counties to produce certified seeds.
This will result in about 2,500 tons after two field multiplications and added to the current annual production of 6,500 tons of certified seed, will improve farmer access to certified potato seed and mitigate the effect of Covid-19 on potato production.
Speaking Monday when flagging off the potato basic seed to six counties for Common Interest Groups (CIG), Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has made efforts in responding to the effects of Covid-19 by availing potato basic seed to produce certified seed for farmers as well as providing planting materials of various commodities.
Munya said 60 staff from the six counties namely Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bomet, Nyandarua, Nyeri and Taita Taveta have been trained, through the CIGs, their farms have been sampled by KEPHIS to assure suitability of identified seed bulking sites and land preparation and procurement of planting inputs undertaken.
“KALRO has also availed planting materials of various food crops and livestock fodder propagated in diverse locations that are mainly in KALRO Centres and Institutes. These planting materials include seedlings, seeds, seed cuttings, splits and vines that will be accessed from those locations,” he said.
Munya noted that the farming community will be adversely affected in terms of food security and livelihoods thus there is an urgent need for the Ministry to develop additional strategies that will enable them recover and also make them more resilient to future such challenges.