The Star (Nairobi)

15 July 2014

Kenya: Disease-Resistant Potato Seeds for Nakuru

NAKURU will test and release varieties of potatoe seeds for small-scale farmers, Agriculture executive Dr Stanely Chepkwony has said.

Speaking in his office yesterday, Chepkwony said the county, the Agricultural Development Corporation in Molo and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute will provide seeds to boost yields in the area.

"The seeds that will be released will be resistant to late blight and other diseases that threaten potatoes in the county," he said.

Chepkwony said the move will counter the low yields in the region due to poor and low quality seeds.

He said lack of good potato seeds has made farmers use those from previous harvests, which lead to accumulation of pests and diseases.

"This means that farmers use previous produce instead of seed potato and because of this, there has been an accumulation of pests and diseases which have reduced the yields."

Chepkwony said the move will ensure food security.

He urged farmers to get in touch with field extension officers and get certified seeds.

Chepkwony said farmers are being sensitised on the standardisation of the new packaging rule of not more than 50kg bags.

"Packaging of the potatoes has been abused. Farmers have been suffering as a result with brokers raking in all the profits," he said.

Chepkwony said due to the wastage and losses incurred, the stakeholders in various potato growing counties have laid down measures to protect farmers from exploitation by middlemen.

"The move is aimed at protecting the local farmer from exploitation by middle men. Those who will be found violating the law will be prosecuted," he said.

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