By George Munene
A potato farming guide has been released by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Deputy Head of mission-Head of Trade and development, Joris van Bommel and Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture PS Hamadi Iddi Boga.
The 112-page text titled Potato Signals -African edition was released in Nairobi and gives African farmers, particularly those in East Africa, practical instructions and advice on the best way to grow and get maximum yield from potatoes.
The book covers all the important stages in potato growing, starting with preparation for planting and continuing right through to storing and delivering.
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Research that preceded the book found that most farmers in the region plant potatoes by use of “farm saved seed tubers” from a previous season as propagation material for the next crop, limiting production prospects.
“The potato value chain in East Africa is not well-developed. Availability of good quality seed in the region is very limited. Farmers usually use seed tubers, either from their previous harvests or purchase seed with unknown sources from local markets,” said the book.
“Often, they use the best tubers for the local market, while the low-quality tubers are maintained as starting materials for the next crop. This is a very important yield limiting factor,” the new book added.
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The current average potato yield in East Africa is 10 tonnes per hectare. With proper agronomic practices highlighted in the book, coupled with adequate inputs, yields for small-scale farmers should average 20-30 tonnes per hectare.
The book is available for purchase on paperback or as an Ebook here: Potato Signals African Edition (English edition)