Potatoes business is about to change for the better. Potatoes will be sold in kilogrammes come July 1, if farmers give a nod to the government’s legislation proposal outlawing use of buckets and sacks.

Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said standardising the price of potatoes at the retail and wholesale levels would help farmers determine the returns of their produce based on quantity and variety.

Potato business

CropNuts Agronomist Ian Mutua (Right) with potato farmer Daniel (left) in Narok. With the passing of the new legislation, the exploitative extended harvest bags and buckets used by some traders will be abolished

He said the law will criminalise use of plastic and metallic containers to determine pricing of a specific amount of potatoes.

“We want to launch a Potato Traceability System Potato as well as make it mandatory for all potatoes’ selling points to adopt use of weights as a measure of pricing,” Said the CS in a speech read on his behalf by Crop Development Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe during the Third national Potato Conference.

The move is a second bid after former Agriculture minister Christopher Kirwa gazetted similar supplementary legislation in 2004.

Potato Business Value chain

But Mr Kirwa’s bid failed since local authorities failed to enforce it at produce markets.

CS Kiunjuri said come July 1, county governments as well as national government enforcement agencies will be tasked with ensuring compliance across the entire value chain.

Key Staple Food

Potato middle men kenya

The Ministry of Agriculture has identified potatoes as one of the key crops that can effectively compliment maize as a driver  of the food and nutrition security.

Potato currently ranks 2nd, to maize as the country’s key staple food.

The Ministry plans to integrate potatoes in the meals offered in public schools to offer potato farmers an expanded market for their produce.

Most potato business farmers are at the mercy of middlemen who extend the harvest bags and determine the low prices since most farmers have no direct access to the market.

According to farmers at the 2018 National Potato Conference, the exploitative bags used by middlemen come with different weird names such as Nyoka bila sumu, or Kofia ya Akorino. These bags could weigh upto 200 kgs and fetch as little as KES. 2000 a bag, depending on the season

Source: The Daily Nation