Potato Growing Counties Launch Joint Initiative

August 17, 2013
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By Elijah Kinyanjui
August 17 2013
Governors from Kenya’s 14 major potato growing counties have launched a synchronised campaign to boost the growth of the food crop to enhance its value as well as enhance Kenya’s food security.
Led by Nyandarua Governor Daniel Waithaka Mwangi, the Governor hosted a stakeholders’ forum which amongst others declared the extension of each potato gunny bag to accommodate more weight popularly known as dusra a “disaster” that they banned.
Host Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua said the crop was Kenya’s second main staple food after maize adding that the meeting held to discuss its production and enhancement in production was very important and timely.
Kinuthia said time has come when Kenyan farmers have to get what is rightfully due to them after years of being exploited by middlemen and petty farm-to-farm traders.
“One of the main priorities that my government is addressing is bad roads in the county. They have to be upgraded to maximise returns to farmers”, he said.
Speaking during the Cathay hotel in Nakuru forum, Kinuthia said potato has the advantage of being a crop that can be planted and harvested three times a year hence with a great potential to be produced en-masee.
“In Nakuru, our county assembly has already passed a motion that outlaws the extension of gunny bags and we request other counties to follow suit so that potato marketing is uniform throughout the country”. He said.
Governor Kinuthia said the most productive potato growing counties are Nyandarua, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Kisii, Baringo, West-Pokot, Nyeri, Bomet, Meru, Uasin-Gishu, Taita-Taveta and Marakwet.
He said these counties also double up as East being representatives of the top ten potato product ring regions in east Africa adding another concern that needs to be addressed urgently is the quality of potato tubers produced and its marketing strategies.
Other Governors who addressed the meeting included Waithaka, and West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin as well as acting Nakuru county Agriculture Cabinet Executive Member (Minister) Richard Rop.

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