Kenya’s potato production could hit 2.5 million tonnes in 2021 up from the estimated 2 million tonnes produced in 2020, the industry said on Friday.
Wachira Kaguongo, CEO of National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) told Xinhua in Nairobi that both production and demand were affected last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect production to rebound in 2021 due to favorable weather as well as increased potato seed distribution to farmers,” Kaguongo said.
According to NPCK, potato is the second staple crop after maize and it plays an important role in food security through the promotion of diversification of the Kenyan diet.
Kaguongo said that the bulk of the country’s production is cultivated under rain-fed conditions leading to increased vulnerability to erratic weather conditions.
Kaguongo called for the prioritization of the crop which is highly productive because it can be harvested twice a year.
He noted that the country has the potential to significantly increase its overall production of the crop but faces a myriad of challenges.
“The high-yielding varieties of potato seeds are very expensive especially to the small-scale farmers,” he added.
Kaguongo observed that the bulk of the country’s production is undertaken by small-scale farmers who have production yields that are less than international standards.