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EU grants Sh116m to promote potato sector in Nyandarua County

potato farming

Potato farmers in Nyandarua are set to benefit from Sh116m grant by European Union to boost potato production in the county.

Speaking after signing the deal at the Ministry of Devolution headquarters in Nairobi yesterday, county officials said the grant would help improve the sector.

October last year the county received Sh120m from EU which was to be used to set up a national project for the crop with Nyandarua County being the national potato hub.

The Nyandarua delegation at the ministry comprised county executive committee members Mary Mugwanja (finance and economic development) and James Karitu (agriculture, livestock and fisheries) and the county secretary, Hiram Kahiro.

“This allows us to embark on preparatory activities and request for pre-financing ahead of the grand launch next month,” said Ms Mugwanja.

Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli hailed Nyandarua for meeting EU requirements for the project. “You are the second county to sign the contract after Makueni,” he said.

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Under the EU programme, the grant will fund Nyandarua’s seed potato production and storage project at Ol Joro Orok and Njabini Agricultural Training Centres (ATCs) and a tissue culture laboratory.

“We will increase production of potatoes in the county through enhancing availability and access to certified potato seeds from the current estimated two per cent to 10 per cent by the year 2020,” said Dr Karitu.

Mr Kahiro announced that farmers and other actors in the potato industry would be sensitised on the benefits of using high-quality certified seeds.

“We will reach out to potato consumers, hotels and supermarkets, input suppliers, transporters, wholesalers, retailers and processors so that every interest group is on board,” he said.

Of 131,697 farm households, 113,000 are small-scale potato farmers while about 7,400 are large-scale.

In 2017, the county produced potatoes worth more than Sh8 billion.

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