Many Kenyan farmers harvest ﬁve to seven tonnes from an acre, according to available statistics. This is by far short of the optimal yield of between 16 and 20 tonnes or up to 400 sacks of 50 kilos. At a cost of Ksh1,500 per bag, one is sure of Ksh600,000 per acre within only three months of planting. This can only be achieved when you plant the right seed, use the right inputs and follow apt agronomic practices
To realise maximum yields, several factors should be considered. They include:
this is done to determine ph, which conﬁrms availability of micronutrients; mineral and nutrient content of the soil before planting. Seeds Use certiﬁed seeds; Plant one variety only or separate them if more than one; a large-sized potato is ideal for planting, contrary to popular practice where farmers select the small ones.
Only plant seeds after they have sprouted, with the sprouts facing upwards. this ensures uniform growth; always plant a potato seed deep enough on a ridge and ensure there is a heap of soil; Prepare the soil before planting to give you 15cm of loose ground. To do this mechanically, use a horizontal working rotovator;
To have a nice and equal ﬁeld with plants, grade the seeds into several sizes; Spraying programme Potato blight is the most devastating disease capable of wiping out an entire plantation within a day. To guard against this, a farmer should get the right fungicide; Monitor the crop on a daily basis; stick to a spraying programme.
If it is a 10-day interval, it should remain so whether the disease has been detected or not. Farmers should seek advice from Ministry of Agriculture on the right programme; there is more risk of attack during the wet season; spraying should commence when the plant attains a height of three inches.
do a good crop-rotation, plant potatoes once in four years in the same ﬁeld, otherwise nematodes will in- crease and you will never get rid of bacteria wilt.
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