For the past few months, efforts have been made by The Agrico East Africa team to come up with video demos to increase the yield from potato farming in Kenya.
This is following the selling high quality seeds, when the group at Agrico EA realized that there was a lack of farming no-how amongst the farmers. That and the struggle for high productivity resulted in lack of profitability. As such, basic knowledge such as crop rotation, land preparation, suitable nutrition and an effective spray program for pest and disease management were topics used in the engagement of farmers in training via the tutorial videos. It was obvious to the Agrico EA team that having short video clips that can easily be shared through modern media was the way to go in reaching potato farmers
According to Corien Herweijer, Business Development Manager for Agrico East Africa, in order to develop a profitable and sustainable value chain in Kenya, provision of certified potato seed to Kenyan smallholder potato farmers who were struggling to get access to good quality certified seed and other inputs is essential.
“Kenya is estimated to have about 800,000 smallholder farmers, and each of them operate on an average of less than 1 acre / season,” Corien says.
Average potato production level for a smallholder farmer is only 3-4 tons per acre, whereas a yield of at least 8-10 tons is needed for a farmer to start making a profit. “In Kenya, potato is the second most important agricultural crop after the staple food maize,” she says. Thus land utilization and maximization of farm yields is crucial. Corien says that Agrico East Africa developed a ‘Potato Growing Guide’ explaining how Kenyan farmers can improve their potato farming practices and methods.
In the videos, an Agrico agronomist takes farmers through each critical step of potato cultivation, including farm preparation, planting, growing and harvesting.