Twelve potato-growing counties are set to adopt the international labour rule of packaging potatoes in 50kg bags. This will protect farmers from unscrupulous middlemen and ensure they get the best value out of their investments.
Nyandarua county executive officer in charge of Agriculture Agatha Thuo yesterday said consultations are at an advanced stage in the counties to ensure that supportive legislations are passed in the respective assemblies. They want the rule to be applied concurrently.
Thuo said the counties, working under the umbrella of the National Potato Council, are working with bags manufacturers and importers to ensure the initiative takes off smoothly. "We ask our farmers to cooperate," she said.
Thuo was speaking at a Nyahururu hotel while closing a one-day workshop for Nyandarua agricultural stakeholders. She said the counties are consulting with leaders of the major potato consuming areas like Nairobi and Mombasa to ensure that the innitiative succeeds.
Thuo said potato farmers find it difficult to get certified seeds. She said the county government has set aside money for seed propagation. "We plan to use the large tracts of underutilised land to produce potato seeds and enable our farmers get the seeds from within the county," Thuo said.
She said the current seeds are yielding 30 bags per acre even where there is a potential of producing up to 120 bags per season. Thuo said potato marketing has not been streamlined.
"We want to form value adding establishments and sell potatoes as a finished product in form of chips, crisps and bhajia or whatever the market will demand," she said.