The realisation of potatoes full potential as a high-value crop in response to emerging opportunities such as changes in consumption patterns and the need for value addition is crucial even as farmers are advised to diversify to high-value crops.
Speaking during the North Rift Region potato fair held at Agricultural Mechanisation Station, Uasin Gishu County, Deputy Governor H.E Daniel Chemno asked the farmers to focus on diversity as it is the only way to face challenges currently experienced by farmers to ensure the stability and growth of their business.
” Potatoes are highly productive crops and produces more food per unit of area and time. In just 3 months you are able to make a lot of money from potatoes. Diversification to these high-value crops is the way to go,” he Said.
Mr. Manyenyi representing the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. Kiunjuri said that the crops attributes which included its great adaptability to almost any altitude is already cultivated as both primary and off-season crop in different parts of Kenya and its demand was getting higher every day.
” As a government, we have made an enabling environment to ensure research into best seeds is done. You may be tempted to take a short cut by buying seeds from other farmers but you should know this is the biggest mistake that most farmers make. If you want to get the best harvest, then you have to get the best disease-free seeds,” Said Mr. Manyenya.
National Potato Council of Kenya C.E.O Mr. Wachira commended Uasin Gishu leadership, for the successful well planned and well-attended field day.
CEC ICT, Trade and Industrialisation, Dr. Emily Kogos with her counterpart from Environment and water Mrs. Njogu reiterated that farmers needed to join cooperatives so as to have better bargaining power in the markets on their produce.
The well attended field day was graced by hundreds of farmers, over 30 exhibitors, who also had a chance to see county implements demonstrating the ploughing, planting, and harvesting of the crop by County machinery.