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Smallscale farmers exempt from new potato regulation penalties

Irish potatoes

By George Munene

Potato growers whose area of cultivation is below four acres will not face penalties for failing to register with their county governments annually in order to grow and deal in the crop.

In a clarification of The Irish Potatoes Regulations 2019, The National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), explained that small-scale farmers are encouraged to register with their county government and a growers association/ collection center at a Sh500 fee annually. There will, however, be no penalty charged for non-registration. 

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The law whose sensitization exercise began on June 8, 2021, with its enforcement starting immediately thereafter, seeks to address the prevailing challenges in Kenya’s potato sector. These include; the licensing of actors within the potato value chain, quality assurance, marketing and the use of extended bags.

Grower association/ farmers groups within the Irish potato value chain will be mandated to register with their county government at a Sh1000 charge annually. This will also be required of collection centers, warehouses, stores, marketing agents, dealers, and processors. 

Grower associations found in offense of this law face a Sh 500,000 fine, serving a year in jail, or both. Collection centers, warehouses, stores, marketing agents, dealers, and processors found to have contravened the law will be charged Sh 500,000, serve three years in jail, or both.

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Traders packing potatoes in extended bags that weigh above 50 kilograms— which have long been used by traders to exploit farmers— will be fined Sh 500,000, serve a year in jail, or both. The law also demands that potatoes be packaged in approved clean materials that allow for airflow.

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