Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Small scale potatoes growing business in Kenya

Potato Crisps:Snack

LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOGHURT AHEAD OF EASTER HOLIDAYS ON SAT 5/4/2014

Youth Agro-Environment Initiative will hold training on Yoghurt Making on Saturday 5th April 2014, for one day in Gatundu town from 10am-3pm. If interested Contact us on Email yagrein@gmail or call 0714211644 to book a place. First come first served.

 Potatoes are one of the most popular multipurpose vegetables grown by Kenyan farmers’. They are great for crisps,frying, roasting and mashing. To find out the seed tuber variety suitable for your area you can either consult agriculture experts, or conduct a research among the farmers’ in your area asking them what variety performs well in the local soils and what they like to grow. Growing potatoes is easy, profitable and gives returns within 3 months. This may be the crop you have been waiting for. Under good management, you can harvest 160 bags [100kg bags] per acre piece of land and sell at KES 1,000 per bag. This gives farmers’ total revenue of KES 160,000 less 40,000 production cost to give a cool KES 120,000.The high yielding tuber varieties popular among Kenyan farmers’ include Tigoni, Asante, Kenya mpya, Kenya karibu and sanghi.

In Kenya the farmers’ have a huge business opportunity in growing of certified seed tubers which they can exploit. The demand and sale price of clean seed tubers is far higher than tubers for food. Certified seed sell at KES 3,000 per 100kg bag, which is tripple the prize of food potatoes.  In the year 2010 it was established that Kenya produces only about 1% of the tuber seeds needed by the Farmers’ countrywide. Clean seed is the best start for a good crop yield as has been discovered by most farmers of potatoes. So if farmers’ have an extra piece of land free of bacterial wilt and other diseases of potatoes , they can consult KEPHIS (Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services) to find out how farmers’  join seed tubers growing business. The production of certified seeds can easily be carried out in the farmer’s fields, but will need inspection and certification by KEPHIS in order to attract the high price tag that currently is offered for clean seed.

Potatoes can grow best in cool high altitudes of between 1,500-2,300 metres above sea level. A regular water supply of about 25mm per week is required. Free draining fertile medium loams are preferred for growing the crop since heavy clays restrict tuber growth. Potatoes are planted in furrows at a spacing of 75cm from one furrow to another and 30cm from one tuber to another and 10cm deep. D.A.P fertilizer is mixed in the soil at planting time at a rate of 200kg per acre [about 1kg DAP per 35m of furrow]. Weed and earth up the crops as they grow with the final earthing up done at 25cm high. The two most important diseases of potatoes in Kenya are late blight and bacterial wilt. Late blight can be controlled by planting resistant varieties. Spraying can also be done using recommended fungicides. There is no chemical control for bacterial wilt which is controlled through the use of clean seed, resistant varieties, crop rotation with cereals and field hygiene. Potatoes tuber moth is a major pest common in the farmers’ fields, and can be controlled by spraying recommended insecticides. For  value addition read