A new Irish potato programme will be launched next week in Nyandarua, giving a boost to farmers.

The new initiative dubbed Potato Sector Capacity Building Project is a partnership between the Embassy of Ireland and the County Government of Nyandarua.

The project will be implemented by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC), together with Kevian Kenya Ltd, and IPM Potato Group, an Irish company with expertise in certified potato seed production.

“The project aims at helping smallholder farmers increase their returns by training them on good agricultural practices, facilitating their access to affordable certified potato seeds and creating linkages with markets for their produce,” said Dr Vincent O’Neill, the Irish ambassador.

The envoy noted that most smallholder farmers are used to growing local varieties of potatoes, mostly suitable for table consumption, while they use recycled seeds resulting to many challenges.

“Through provision of good certified potato seeds, it is expected that the quality and frequency of potato harvests will increase,” he said noting that the embassy has pledged Sh125 million funding for the project for the next three years.

The launch, which will be held at Ol Kalou Stadium on March 14, will be attended by Governor Francis Kimemia and Ireland’s Minister for Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.

Potato is the second most important food and cash crop after maize in Kenya and hence occupies a prime position in boosting food security, poverty eradication, and economic development.

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