Potatoes cultivation from planting to marketing in Kenya.

Potatoes in Kenya is the second staple food after maize .It has really gained the greater rise in demand since it is highly marketable both within and outside the country. Due to continuous growth in population, many people have shifted from long term crops like maize to a shorter term crops like potatoes. The commonly grown variety is shangi

1.Land preparation.

Plough the land to make the soil soft and well aerated. The land should not be located in a waterlogged area since poor drainage causes frost bite.

Make furrows . Consider the topography of the land such that when the land is sloppy, make furrows across the contours to prevent sheet erosion.

Spread the manure in the furrows.

2.Planting.

Purchase a certified potatoes seeds. This will help in pest and disease control like; bacterial wilt.

Plant the potato seeds 30cm apart. Add phosphate along the furrows,200kg/acre. Cover the potato seed with soil to avoid the seeds from being carried away by running water or rain.

3.Weeding.

As soon as the potato seed germinates, it must be weeded to allow easy growth. When the germinating potato seeds are still young, the weeds should be uprooted to avoid displacement of the roots.

4.Pests and disease control.

Pests and diseases are the major challenges facing both small and large scale farmers. Pests like aphid causes viral diseases like potato leaf roll virus. This is as a result of the aphids sucking the sap from the potato leaves. Diseases like bacterial wilt are caused by infected seed tubers and soil. It is highly recommended to use a certified seeds since they are well treated.

5.Harvesting.

Potatoes takes approximately 90 days to mature and get harvested. As soon as the stalks dries, the farmer is now ready to harvest his or her potatoes. The yield of potatoes in an acre of land is approximately 80bags.

6.Marketing.

Marketing is done both domestically and internationally. Small scale farmers sell there potatoes locally. Large scale farmers exports there produce to other countries.

For small scale farmers, the best time to sell their produce is during the month of December since the prices are high.

Taking; 1 sack=sh.4000, then, 80bags of an acre would be: 80 by 2,000 to be sh.160,000.This brings out a huge profit from an input of sh. 70,000. The expected return is a profit of sh.90,000.

7.Storage

Once the potatoes have been harvested, it is advisable to store them in a cool and dry place. This is recommended when the prices of potatoes is low. The potatoes should also be stored in a well ventilated room.

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