Potato farmers are set to benefit from the construction of a research and production centre in Nyandarua County, which will guarantee farmers quality, climate, disease and pest-resistant seeds.
This has been facilitated by the European Union in partnership with the county government. Former Governor Daniel Waithaka said the Ksh100 million project would begin operating soon.
He signed the contract shortly before the expiry of his term. “Potato production is declining by the day due to over recycling of seeds.
The plant will develop disease-resistant and climate-change friendly seed potato,” said Mr Waithaka. By December, when the centre will be completed, farmers will get hydroponically developed seeds.
Potato seed recycling is a national problem, and the factory is designed to meet local demand before expanding to other potato growing regions.
After generating the seeds, the county government will identify and contract farmers for propagation and seed multipliers, who will then supply other farmers.
The potato hydroponics farming system was first introduced in the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) farm around the year 2008.
Besides improved production, the system reduces the cost of production, as the usage of chemicals is minimal. “We are also partnering with Laikipia University’s Department of Agriculture,” said the former governor.
The project will also serve as a resource centre for students.