Friday, September 22, 2023
HomeSector NewsCountry faces acute shortage of certified potato seeds

Country faces acute shortage of certified potato seeds

As the country faces looming food shortage, farmers say lack of potato seeds is a major problem which must be addressed urgently to boost food security.

The secretary of Kenya National Potato Farmers Association, Mr. Edward Mwamba, said the country requires 50 tonnes of seeds annually but about 3,000 tonnes of certified seed potatoes are supplied by agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) and the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (Kari).

A commercial programme established by the government to produce and market seed potatoes in the 1980s collapsed due to sub-division of ADC and Kari farms.

“Farmers lack access to quality seeds due to inadequate seed production malfunctioning seed distribution system and lack of adequate land for research,” said Mr. Leonard  Ochieng’, the Rift Valley Provincial Director of Agriculture.

“Land grabbing of research land belonging to Kari has paralyzed seed production and nobody should blame Kari for not producing enough seeds for farmers,” said a Kari researcher who declined to be quoted as he is not authorized to speak on behalf of institute.

The researcher said the only way to boost seed production was to reclaim all grabbed Kari land to enable the institute carry its core role in the production of potato seeds.

The challenges

Other challenges facing the potato production in the country include inadequate funding, lack of irrigation infrastructure, high cost of inputs such as fertilizer, lack of storage facilities and high seed transport costs.

The grading and packaging of standards established by the government in the legal notice No.44 of May 2005 which stipulated that a bag should not exceed 110Kg has not been enforced.

“The enforcement has been weak despite the provision of the legal notice No. 113 empowering the Local Government to enforce it but unfortunately it has been flouted with impunity,” said Mr. Ochieng’.

In Rift Valley, Irish potatoes are grown mainly in Nakuru, Kericho, Laikipia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gichu and Baringo counties.

According to a researcher at Kari, only 100,000 hectares of land is under potato production which produces one million tonnes. The country’s requirement is 60 million tonnes.

Irish potatoes are commonly consumed in fresh form but change of eating habits has led to increased consumption of processed snacks such as French fries popularly known as chips.

By Francis Mureithi

Sunday Nation, Page 33

May 27, 2012.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Anthony Mutai on Kephis certfied nurseries
GEORGE GAKUO on Kephis certfied nurseries
Beatrice Atieno on Change of guard at Sian Roses
Thomas M.Nzesi on Kephis certfied nurseries
Samson Ongus on Kephis certfied nurseries
Mr Ombeva Iduvagwa on Flowers From Molo Greens
Kipkemoi Samson on Cabbage production tips
JOYCE NAKHANU WAMALWA on Kenya avocados export on the rise
justus wandera on Cabbage production tips
MICHAEL BENEDICT on Kenya avocados export on the rise
murimi gathoni on Cabbage production tips
Olipha Kerubo Atambo on Kenya avocados export on the rise
Mbusa Stephen on Production of Apples
Sospeter Lemoigo on Kephis certfied nurseries
Benjamin temo on Cabbage production tips
Rashid Kipchumba on Kenya avocados export on the rise
Beatrice Ledama on Cabbage production tips
Akello Babra on Cabbage production tips
David gechure ondora on Cabbage production tips
Rutoh titus on Cabbage production tips
Emmanuel Barasa on Cabbage production tips
semujjus@gmail.com solomon on Bungoma’s growing passion