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Potato handbook launched to help Kenyan farmers improve yields

By Milliam Murigi
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
A farmer tends to his potato farm. Photo/Courtesy

The Kenyan government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries in partnership with the Dutch government has unveiled a new book to guide potato farmers.

Dubbed Potato Signals Africa- A practical guide to successful potato cultivation, the book guides farmers on how to cultivate using modern methods in a bid to achieve high yields and incomes.

It covers all the important stages in potato growing, starting with seed preparation, production aspects, harvesting through to storing and delivering the potato to the consumer.

The reason being, every link in the chain is equally important for best results.

“Potato Signals Africa is not a classical theoretical textbook, but an exciting practical guide.

It starts by looking at the signals sent out by the potato crop. The central words of this guide are: Look, Think and Act,” said the Netherlands Deputy Ambassador Joris Van Bommel during the launch.

According to him, this is the first of its kind practical guide to successful potato cultivation.

The book is available in both English and Kiswahili to enable a wider reach to the growers.

During the formulation of the book, both Kenyan and Dutch potato experts worked together on the content.

“This book will provide farmers with practical information, clear insight on the crop, help farmers make decisions, and give advice on how farmers can improve their farm management,” he said.

Improve farm management

On his part Principal Secretary State Department for Crop Development and Agriculture Research at the Ministry of Agriculture ProfHamadi Mboga said that potato farmers  need to embrace this book since it will not only guide them on how to cultivate using modern methods in a bid to achieve high yields and incomes, but also will help them make their production sustainable and a viable business.

Potato harvest. Photo/Courtesy

“In Kenya, the production of potatoes is growing rapidly yet yields are relatively low. To optimize potato production in Kenya, good knowledge is essential for potato farmers.

That is why I urge all farmers to use this book since it has wide-ranging practical advice that will help you make better, well-founded decisions, eliminate weak points or simply get all the little details right,” said Boga.

However, Boga urged potato seed producers to develop new potato varieties that are more resilient to climate change and disease. Currently, there are about 64 varieties of potatoes in the country and 34 are from the Netherlands.

He also urged local producers to increase their capacity since at the moment, Kenya relies on the Netherlands for the importation of potato seed for production as the country hardly produces enough for farmers.

Milliam Murigi