Profitable sweet potato farming in Kenya

This is the profitable sweet potato farming in Kenya definitive guide with all information and answers to guide you on profitable sweet potato farming in Kenya. Be it you want to start commercial sweet potato farming or farming for domestic purpose this guide is prepared specifically for you. Before venturing into sweet potato farming in Kenya there are some of the questions you have been asking yourself we intend to answer all of these questions on this guide;

  • Areas where sweet potato farming is done in Kenya?
  • How many kilograms of sweet potatoes can one acre of land produce?
  • How to start a sweet potato farm
  • How profitable is sweet potato farming in Kenya
  • Sweet potato pests and diseases in Kenya
  • What is the best fertilizer for sweet potato farming?
  • Which is the best month for growing sweet potatoes
  • How long does it take for sweet potatoes to mature
  • What is the market for sweet potatoes in Kenya
  • Sweet potato varieties in Kenya

HOW TO GROW SWEET POTATOES IN KENYA

PLANTING

Sweet potatoes are drought tolerant tuber crops it is usually in different colors the main being red, purple brown and white. Its vines are normally used as fodder. Sweet potatoes are normally grown in nearly every part of Kenya. Sweet potato varieties grown in Kenya include Zaparo, Naspato, Tainain, Kemp. Sweet potatoes can be consumed whole- boiled, roasted, deep fried or mixed with cooked beans, mashed and consumed as a complete meal. The tuber can be made into chips, crisps or dried and ground into flour

The suitable ecological requirements for growing of sweet potatoes are 750- 100mm rainfall although sweet potatoes can withstand dry conditions, it is important to have rain during the first week of planting this helps in root development. Sweet potatoes are grown from vine cuttings or storage roots. Vine cuttings is mostly preferred because it develops better roots, produces high yields and are free from soil borne diseases.

Vine cuttings should be free from fungal and any kind of diseases, length of 30cm is recommended. Leaves should always be stripped off from the lower area of the vine cuttings

The area where sweet potatoes are to be planted should have deep well fertile soil. If the soil is infertile ensure to mix the soil with manure. When the land is ready, Create raised mounds 6 to 8 inches tall and about 12 inches wide, base diameter of 30-40cm. Plant 3-4 vines in single stand at equal distance from each other.

PLANTING SWEET POTATOES ON RIDGES

On ridges make ridges 1m apart and the base of 1 ridge to the other to be 10-15cm the vines are planted on left and right position of the ridges at 30cm between plants within rows and 50-60 cm between rows.

The seed rate for sweet potatoes is cuttings 27,000 per ha (11,000 per acre).

The first weeding of sweet potatoes is done after 2 weeks upon [planting

Monitoring: this is done by frequently checking for pest and diseases. Some pests may invest in sweet potatoes making it necessary for integration of pest management practices

SWEET POTATO DISEASES

  • Alternaria leaf spot and leaf and stem blight
  • Black rot
  • Bacterial soft rot
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Leaf and stem scab

SWEET POTATOES PESTS

  • Sweet potato stem borer
  • White grub

HARVESTING OF AWEET POTATOES.

Sweet potatoes mature after 100days of planting this is when the sweet potatoes root tuber is long and tapered with a smooth skin. Harvesting is done by loosening the soil around each plant to avoid injuring the tubers. You may also Cut away some of the vines before doing this.

Pull up the plant’s primary crown and dig up the tubers by hand. Handle the sweet potatoes carefully, as they bruise easily. 

Shake off any excess dirt and do not wash the roots. Curing can then be done on the harvested sweet potatoes by leaving them on strong sunlight. This gives the sweet potatoes a sweet tasting flavor

With good management and depending on variety of the sweet potatoes, you can achieve up to 38 tons/Ha although average yields ranges between 15-30 tons/Ha. This proofs how profitable sweet potato farming in Kenya is.

Storage of sweet potatoes can be on crates or sacks.

MARKET OF SWEET POTATOES IN KENYA

Sweet potatoes can be exported or sold locally in markets, supermarkets and institutions. Sweet potatoes fetches better prices in major urban markets like Mombasa and Nairobi.

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