Potato farmers should incorporate technology to boost yields- Research
According to Researchers drawn from the government and non-governmental organizations technology adoption will boost yields and help mitigate against negative effects climate change.
The researchers say climate-smart agriculture and good post-harvest handling are the only way to increase potato production in the country in light of harsh weather patterns.
Although potato is the fourth most consumed farm produce in Kenya after maize, rice and wheat, frequent droughts in recent years have affected the production that is mainly grown highland areas such as Nakuru, Nyandarua, Molo, Elburgon and Meru. As a result, the crop is mainly grown by small-scale farmers whose parcels of land do not exceed 2.4 hectares.
The major constraint crippling the potato agro-business in Kenya is the uncertainty of climate change patterns, poor yielding seeds, poor harvesting and post-harvest handling practices by the farmers.
Most potato farmers do not have relevant farm equipment for harvesting the crop and storing the produce, which affects the overall production.
Since potato is the second choice crop for most farmers the Rift Valley, Central, and Eastern region, stakeholders are calling on the national and county governments to address challenges within the potato value-chain.
The Climate Smart Agriculture program is being implemented by the Netherlands Development Organization, SNV in the three East African countries namely Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.