Potato Technologies on Display at the Ndaragua Farmers Field Day

Leshao Ponda, Ndaragua - Potato technologies and varieties were on display at the Leshao Ponda, Ndaragua field day with farmers being urged to use certified seed to enhance potato production. The over 400 farmers were shown aeroponics, hydroponics and stem cutting technologies used to produce basic potato seed which in turn is sold to seed merchants. Aeroponics is growing plants in air or mist without using soil, while hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil but using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.

Left: KEPHIS Board Chairman Mr Robin Achoki(3rd left), MD Dr. Esther Kimani(2nd left), Nyandarua CEC Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Dr. James Karitu showing a variety of potatoes at the Ndaragua field day; (Right): potato technologies on display during the field day

This is a relatively new technology in Kenya but is gaining popularity due to low incidences of potato diseases due to the absence of soil.

20 potato varieties were also on display including Sagita, Challenger, Rudolf, Sheherekea and Lenana. These varieties have been released (made available for multiplication) by KEPHIS for the farming community.

KEPHIS Board Chairman Mr Robin Achoki who was the Chief Guest urged the farmers to make use of the services of KEPHIS to enhance their agricultural production leading to improved livelihoods. MD Dr. Esther Kimani urged the farmers to plant certified seed. "Do not buy seed from open places as you do not know where the seed has come from; also keep the receipt for traceability in case your crops do not do well," she emphasized.

Board Member Dr Rose Njeru urged the farmers to also plant certified seed from certified agrovets. She informed the farmers of the role that KEPHIS plays in looking for global markets for their horticultural produce. Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CEC Hon. Dr. James Karitu who represented Governor Francis Kimemia reiterated the county government's commitment to addressing potato production challenges including marketing, storage, availability of certified seed and varieties suitable for the area.

A representative from Agrico teaching farmers on various potato varieties at the Ndaragua field day

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