By Standard Reporter | Updated Wednesday, September 16th 2015 at 13:55 GMT +3
NAIROBI, KENYA: In its endeavor to support Kenya’s potato industry realise its full production potential, the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi will next week launch the East African Potato Forum, a vehicle through which Dutch innovations and technologies in this sector can be replicated.
The Potato Forum will be launched at the Eldoret University Agricultural Fair that opens on September 24-26 in Eldoret.
Netherlands is the largest producer of potato seed in the world with most of the potato varieties grown in Kenya being Dutch.
The development (Potato Forum) is informed by the need to revamp potato production in the wake of pests invasion of the country’s staple food, maize threatening food security.
Potato is Kenya’s second most important food crop, yet the country realizes a paltry seven tons from a hectare despite potential to raise productivity to a minimum of 40 tons.
Among key challenges mitigating against realisation of this potential are lack of clean seeds, few varieties suitable for the various growing regions, lack of clear distribution chains from producers to consumers, shortage of potatoes for processing, poor crop husbandry and potato specific farming practices and manual production methods.
The Netherlands Government supports a potato project which has been experimenting on various potato seeds in Kenya and some of these varieties have been planted at The Eldoret University specifically for the Agriculture Show so as to make it easier to do demos, so that farmers can see how the crop is grown using Dutch know-how, machinery, chemicals and the varieties.