Supporting the National Potato Council of Kenya With Subsector Coordination
GIZ’s Nutrition Sensitive Potato Partnership Project works with the council to ensure the growth of the subsector with a new governance structure
Currently, the actors of the Kenyan potato subsector are collaborating to form a more competitive industry by encouraging the use of certified seed, optimization of input use, disease control, and improved storage and marketing.
GIZ’s Nutrition Sensitive potato partnership project has been supporting the National Potato Council of Kenya within the framework of sector coordination. In turn, the council helps institutions and farmers at county level aiming at the growth of the subsector in the new governance structure. Planning and coordinating activities of the subsector are important for directing and enhancing the transformation of the subsector.
Being a multi-stakeholder and a public-private partnership, the National Potato Council of Kenya offers a platform to development partners and relevant stakeholders at different levels of the value chains to consult, engage, plan and develop strategies for implementation by members, i.e. the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, State Department of Agriculture, County Governments, GIZ, IPM – Seed potato group, Sereni Fries – Potato processor linked to farmers for market linkage, Tropical heat – Potato processor, AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution) – Supporting farmers’ training, IFDC (International Fertilizer Development Centre) – Farmers training and storage innovations, KEVIAN – Prospective potato processing, GRIMME – Mechanization, SNV- Farmers capacity building, Grow Africa, CIP under AVCD, USAID Feed the Future Programme.
About the Kenyan potato subsector
Potatoes are grown by about 800,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya. Through employment of approximately 2.7 million people along the marketing channels, the crop contributes over Kshs 50 billion to the Kenyan economy. Current productivity levels are less than 10 tons per ha, whereas the potential lies at 40 tons under recommended agronomic practices. Expanding cities are causing for an increased demand and thus the industry is viewed to have great potential to further contribute to wealth and food security of the country.
The national potato strategy
A main output of National Potato Council of Kenya is the National Potato Strategy 2016-2020. The strategy aims to provide a roadmap for addressing the identified key constraints in the industry through seven strategic objectives, namely:
- Strengthening institutional, legal and regulatory framework
- Promotion of variety development and seed production
- Enhancing research in the potato industry
- Increasing potato production
- Improving post-harvest handling, value addition and marketing
- Promoting public-private partnerships in potato industry development
- Improving funding to the industry
The council plays a major role in the implementation of the strategy by helping address the challenges of uncoordinated and unharmonized activities and initiatives of the industry. It acts as a point of reference where information on the subsector can be easily accessed.
At the county level
To enhance harmonized development and growth of the subsector, the national council works together with county governments and stakeholders in several counties, including Nyandarua and Bungoma — main potato growing areas in Kenya. In particular, the national council has facilitated the preparation of potato strategies in both counties that are aligned to the national potato strategy.
The county potato strategies help accelerate development of the subsector in the area by clearly linking the action plans at the county level with the framework of planned interventions in the national strategy. The strategy also guides on approaches of bringing together the relevant national and county level stakeholders to jointly work towards common objectives which include; strengthening Institutional, Legal and Regulatory
The strategy also guides on approaches of bringing together the relevant national and county level stakeholders to jointly work towards common objectives which include:
- The strengthening of the institutional, legal and regulatory framework for the potato subsector
- Promoting variety development and seed production
In addition, it prepared a Seed Potato Roadmap that will guide the processes of improving seed potato production, distribution and use, which has been a major bottleneck for the industry.
As part of knowledge management, the National Potato Council of Kenya produces a monthly e-newsletter with a subscriber base of 2,550, a new website and a bi-annual magazine. In addition, the council organises stakeholder events to enhance knowledge exchange through networking. Such events include national and county potato conferences and trade fairs. At those held in 2016 and 2017 more than 4,000 stakeholders participated.
Despite the achievements attained so far, the council faces numerous challenges, especially in terms of financial resources, and hence challenges in mobilizing the various actors for joint interventions. The individual goals and interests of the different chain actors are difficult to harmonize for joint ventures. Nevertheless, the council is determined to pursue its mission to revitalize the potato subsector and turn it into a robust and competitive subsector and potatoes a top crop in terms of food security, income earner and source of employment, especially for the youth.
Jackson Muchoki, Component Leader, GIZ Nutrition Sensitive Potato Partnership Project at email@example.com