Grow Potatoes for Nutrition and Food Availability, Farmers Urged During Moiben Field Day

Moiben, Uasin Gishu County - Over 700 farmers attended the Moiben Potato Field Day where over 10 varieties of potatoes were displayed and shown to be a crop that can promote food availability in the country.

The event, attended by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno and the Cabinet Administration Secretary for Agriculture and Irrigation Dr. Andrew Tuimur, saw farmers shown how potato has the capacity to promote food security in the country, provide employment to young people and be used by the business community in the production of starch and commercial foods.
The various dignitaries in attendance also urged farmers to diversity and minimize over reliance of maize that is facing serious challenges of pests such as the Fall Armyworm and diseases such as the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease.
CEC Uasin Gishu County Mr. Yego urged farmers to diversify because of the current problems facing maize production.
"Let us also not ask our neighbours for seeds, or recycle seed from the last season, but let us plant certified seed and test our soils for enhanced crop yields,” he said.
Governor Mandago urged KEPHIS to continue watching out for unscrupulous seed dealers whose aim is to defraud farmers of the basic input of agricultural production.
"My government will continue working with KEPHIS to ensure that farmers get only the best seed for planting," he reiterated.
CAS Andrew Tuimur reminded the farmers that the government is focused on ensuring that there is available food for all Kenyans; this however could only be achieved if farmers diversified to other crops, such as potatoes.
"As you all know, food security and nutrition is one of the government's Big 4 Agenda; however, we have to diversity to other crops if we are to achieve this goal by farmers growing other crops and using certified seed as a first step in food production," he said.
KEPHIS MD Dr Esther Kimani urged farmers to look out for the seed sticker label as it is a mark that shows the farmer that the seed they purchase from agrovet shops has been certified by KEPHIS.
About 10 potato varieties, developed by various breeders, were showcased; these included Unica, Shangi, Voyager, Tigoni, Karibu, Rumba, Jelly, Arcoustic and Destiny.
The day before, 81 farmers from Moiben and surrounding areas had been taught the importance of potatoes, using certified potato seed as a first step in getting quality yields, sampling and labelling and potato disease management.

KEPHIS MD Dr Esther Kimani(in dark suit) explains to Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno(in white lab coat), Governor Jackson Mandago(3rd left), CAS Agriculture and Irrigation how KEPHIS has worked with various potato seed companies to develop varieties of potato for chips, crisps and table for nutrition and food security during the Moiben Potato Farmers Field Day.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago (holding potatoes) during the Moiben Potato Farmers Field Day. About 10 potato varieties were showcased during the event that was attended by over 700 farmers from Moiben and surrounding areas.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago (left) appreciates a leader's staff presented to him by KEPHIS Board member Eng. Khamis Chome Abdi at the conclusion of the Moiben Potato Farmers Field Day where over 700 farmers were taught on the importance of potato as a food security crop.

Eighty one farmers were taught on the importance of potato as a food security crop, potato seed certification as a first step in potato production, diseases of potato and their management and lot sampling. The training preceded the field day at Jagir Farm.

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