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How the newly released 2019 potato regulations will save Nyandarua farmers from unfair trade

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Packed potatoes for market. According to the new regulations, the maximum weight per unit package shall be 50Kgs with quality assurance in marketing and also Licensing of actors in the potato value chain. Photo courtesy.

About 300 farmers from Nyandarua County, Kenya are among other farmers set to reap big from the new potato regulations 2019 released by the national government that will see them sell their produce on a 50kg bag as opposed to 150kg bag that the growers have been using and which have been denying them their full returns.

The farmers who are members of Nyandarua Farmers’ Cooperative have in the last years been forced to sell their produce to traders their produce in bags which weigh up to 170kg for the Shangi potato variety that they sell to traders from local markets.

“We grow various potato varieties for different markets. Shangi is the variety we produce for local open-air markets and we have been selling it in the extended packaging bags at a price dictated by middlemen,” said Mr. Steven Mwangi Mwaniki, the cooperative’s technical committee chairperson.

The middlemen buy the 170kg potato bag at Sh2,800 translating to about Sh16 per kilo. On the other hand, a 50kg of potato is sold at Sh1,500 by the farmers to the same traders.

This indicates that the farmers are in a way denied their full profit because if the 170kg bag could be divided into 50kg bags, there will be over three such bags (50kg bags) realized which if sold at Sh1,500 will earn over Sh4,500 translating to about Sh1,700 loss the farmers have been recording.

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With the new regulations, the farmers believe they will save them about 37 per cent of their returns that were lost due to poor packaging.

“We are really pleased with the new regulations released by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, our fear is, some of these good regulations are sometimes implemented during the first days but forgotten thereafter,” said Mwaniki.

The farmers also grow robin potato variety which they sell to various food processing companies such as Sereni Fries, Krumble Fresh, Beepa Industries Ltd at Sh30 per kilo.

The implementation will address challenges raised in the past that include curbing malpractices associated with the use of extended bags. The maximum weight per unit package shall be 50Kgs with quality assurance in marketing and also Licensing of actors in the potato value chain, according to the new regulations.

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