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Government to Inject Ksh.100 million into Potato Farming

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Government to Inject Ksh.100 million into Potato Farming

Irish Potatoes

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The National Government is accelerating the construction of a grain storage warehouse and an Irish Potato cooling plant in Nakuru County to help cushion farmers against underpricing during glut and post-harvest loss.

Ministry of Agriculture is planning to install a Ksh 110 million Irish Potato Cooling plant in Kuresoi North and the grain storage warehouse in Njoro.

To support the government`s warehouse receipt arrangement for farmers.

 Smallholder farmers will use their farm produce as collateral on low-interest loans from local banks.

As well as for subsidized farm inputs and implements from the storage facility.

The Facilities

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says the 10,000 tons storage facilities will come in handy to smallholder farmers who are prone to exploitation by unscrupulous middlemen in seasons of overproduction.

Further, the CS said farmers will now store their produce until markets offer competitive prices for respective farm produce.

Potato growers in the region are forced to sell their farm produce at low prices than the production cost due to overproduction.

 And lack of cooling facilities to preserve the produce until markets stabilize.

Munya was speaking on Saturday at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in Njoro during a field day organized by the Agriculture.

Food Authority (AFA) and the Kenya National Cereals Board (NCPB).

Upon completion, the facilities will be duly certified to issue receipts to farmers who will use them to secure the loans.

Nevertheless, researchers at KALRO are concluding an exercise of developing new varieties of Irish potatoes.

The varieties can last long after harvesting, are resistant to diseases and pests, and mature faster.

Additionally, Munya said the varieties that are currently under the trial will be unveiled in April next year.

Furthermore, the State Department for Agriculture in collaboration with local Governments of Counties growing  Potatoes will distribute the flagship seeds of the varieties.

To farmers to enhance productivity and profit.

Seeds

Among the 38 varieties of Irish Potatoes developed by KALRO between 1953 and 2017, the Shangi variety is popular with smallholder farmers in the area.

However, growers have lodged complaints about its short shelf life.

Growers have asked for a variety that they can store longer as they await better prices at the market.

Shangi, released in 2015, takes three to four months to maturity.

The variety matures early,  is highly prolific, and cooks fast.

As well as its versatility nature in use made it popular with commercial growers.

He encouraged farmers to adopt the new seeds of the new varieties once dissemination begins to improve their yields, earn profit and improve their livelihoods.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the devolved unit is constructing two-grain storage warehouses in Mauche and Elburgon in Njoro and Molo Subcounties to the tune of Ksh. 12 Million each.

While complementing the Nation Government`s warehouse receipt system

He added that KALRO, Egerton University, the Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha.

 And the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS),  will be utilized to steer innovation among farmers in the region.