KENYA – FreshCrop Limited, a Nakuru-based technology-driven agricultural company, has partnered with the Dutch company Solynta, which specializes in breeding hybrid potatoes, to develop a hybrid true potato innovation in Kenya.

FreshCrop is Kenya’s largest producer of Certified seed tuber and specializes in comprehensive Potato Value Chain Management from tissue culture to consumption through the empowerment and education of farmers, the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices, and the utilization of appropriate Agro-technology.

The companies are collaborating to facilitate the future introduction of high-quality hybrid potato seed tubers produced from hybrid true potato seeds to put an end to the shortage of clean starting material in the region, allowing farmers to benefit from access to disease-free seed tubers.

As part of this partnership, FreshCrop will leverage its extensive seed distribution network in Nakuru, Nyandarua, and Narok counties to facilitate the dissemination and adoption by farmers of new seed potatoes derived from hybridization developed by Solynta.

In Kenya, potatoes are the second most consumed basic product after maize. Kenya’s 4.5 million farmers produce potatoes throughout the year, and export potatoes to its surrounding countries.

The agricultural sector in the country is the backbone of the economy, contributing approximately 33 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, and employs more than 40 percent of the total population and 70 percent of the rural population.

The partners are trying to strengthen and support the local farmers with clean and high-quality seed tubers that will produce abundant yields and improve living standards throughout Kenya.

FreshCrop MD Chris Gasperi said: “There is a growing demand for clean starting material in the Kenyan potato market. Existing potato diseases diminish yield and affect the overall potato quality considerably. We are continuously looking for new ways to provide our customers with solutions to their problems.”

“We believe Solynta’s hybrid technology and true seeds are the type of innovation needed in our industry. We are currently working very closely with Solynta to ensure FreshCrop brings the most innovative and adapted products to its customers in the Kenyan market.”

Nyandarua county government tries to strengthen the potato value chain to alleviate post-harvest losses

At the same time, the Governor of Nyandarua county, Dr. Moses N. Badilisha, is mobilizing a potato consortium that will buy more than 600 metric tonnes of the produce from the county.

Addressing potato co-operatives in Ol’Kalou, Deputy Governor John Mathara said that Simplifine Foods will take the lead in the anticipated uptake, which seeks to help address challenges posed by post-harvest losses, financial constraints, limited capacity, and middlemen.

The initiative will also attract support from the Co-operative Bank, Agrico Potatoes Services, and Yara International, with farmers who have organized themselves into co-operatives poised to benefit the most.

Additionally, Dr. Badilisha has proposed that cold storage be built per Sub-County, resuscitating more than 300 wetlands for irrigation, rehabilitating County roads, and providing farm inputs.

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