PCB (2018-2020), funded by the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya, is designed to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and families through the adoption of new technologies, including certified potato seed and new varieties, good agricultural practices (GAPs), improved farm management skills, and market access.
Strengthening the Potato Seed Production and Supply Chain
Availability and affordability of clean certified seed is arguably one of the greatest challenges in the potato value chain, especially for processors. The project is exploring innovative models for creating demand for last-mile input delivery, including seed, fertilizer, and agro-chemicals.
Training programs are equipping trainees with knowledge about various superior potato varieties, water and soil management methods, quality control, post-harvest handling, and other areas. Training is practical and hands-on, using field demonstration plots.
Demand-Driven Extension Services
Training is conducted by experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, research agencies, and the agri-food industry, embracing a hands-on practical training model to develop skills, particularly for youth and women, in potato production areas. The project is also training select lead farmers on topics such as GAPs, spray service provision, etc., to create a backup to the government extension system. This will improve the quality of extension services and gradually build up a cadre of trained and well-equipped extension/technician agents. It will also create farmer demand for professional extension services.
The project is exploring innovative models for creating demand for last-mile input delivery, including seed, fertilizer, and agro-chemicals.
Increasing Market Knowledge and Access
The project works with various partners to avail market information to farmers through interactive and innovative channels, train and facilitate linkages with formal and informal markets, and determine how to sustain these linkages and relationships.
Facilitating Access to Finance
The project facilitates linkages between farmers and financial institutions that can customize products to suit farmers’ needs and capabilities. This is coupled with training and promoting local solutions using practical group savings and lending models.
Institutional Capacity Building
Efficiencies along the seed certification process need to be improved to ensure adequate production and efficient distribution of seed for processing varieties. The project has facilitated knowledge-sharing, research and capacity building of government research institutions and regulatory bodies, such as KEPHIS, through exchange programs, and joint research and formal training in partnership with institutions from Ireland, such as Teagasc and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI).
The overall goal of this project is to improve the incomes of smallholder farmers and strengthen agribusiness linkages between Kenya and Ireland. Specifically, the project aims to:
- Increase the productivity of over 3,000 smallholder potato farmers, increasing income by at least 30%.
- Ensure a consistent supply of high-quality raw material to processors and strengthen relationships between processors and farmers.
- Expand the market for high-quality potato seed.
- Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI)
- County Government of Nyandarua
- National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK)
- Kirinyaga Seed Limited (IPM Potato Group and Kevian Kenya Limited)
- International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
- International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
- Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)
- Reached 1,558 farmers (56% female) using the Farmer Field Business School training model.
- Trained 3,827 farmers directly and over 6,000 others indirectly.
- Availed over 100 mt of certified potato seed and 350 mt of clean seed multiplied by farmers using skills acquired from the project.
- Trained 95 lead farmers who cascade farmer-to-farmer extension, thereby supporting government extension personnel.
- 1,746 farmers (60% women) trained using the farmer field business school (FFBS) model and 4,300 beneficiaries were indirectly through various learning platforms, including field days, conferences, and agricultural fairs.
- A total of 50 trainers were trained as FFBS facilitators (39 lead farmers and 11 extension staff).
- The project has taken the lead in identifying challenges in late blight management and rallied partners to address the issue – first by convening private and public partners to develop an action plan that will help relevant government agencies provide guidance on blight management products that are allowed in the country.
- 31 farmers contracted to supply potato to two buyers. The project linked the farmers to Agri-wallet, a mobile-based financing platform.
- Assisted in the regulation of potato sales in Kenya, with the passing of the 2019 Crops (Irish Potato) Regulation, which requires weighing of all sales and limits bag size to 50 kg.