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Friday, 18 January 2013

Kenya: Dutch potato project to improve food security

Kenya has concluded a bilateral agreement with the government of the Netherlands to produce new varieties of potatoes and boost potato growing in the country. Kenya is expected to highly benefit from this agreement, given that currently a constant low production is registered due to poor seeds used in harvesting.
Kenya lacks good quality seed potatoes and there is tendency to use those from previous harvests, a bad practice that can lead to pest and disease problems. Farmers use the traditional method of borrowing seed potatoes from neighbours and some have never bought potato seed.
Potatoes are the second most important crop in Kenya, coming in just behind maize. In the region 2.5 million people are employed across the potato supply chain. According to the National Potato Council of Kenya, there are 800,000 potato growers in the country, planting an estimated 158,000 hectares.
"For long we have been looking at sectors where we could partner and contribute to food security in Kenya and we thought that there is a gap in potato farming. We hope the Kenya-Dutch project will further contribute to high nutrition and economic stability in the country," Hans Wolff, agricultural counselor, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in the Netherlands said.


Source: allafrica.com