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Full-Scale Production Of Special Waru Begins Under Co-op Bank Backed Demo

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Friday 30th June registered a key milestone for potato farmers in Kenya when players in the crop’s value chain – The Potato Consortium – concluded a major step towards achieving the farm-to-plate value model.

The consortium led by Co-operative Bank in collaboration with the County Government of Nyeri and other partners including Yara East Africa, Bayer East Africa and Agrico PSA witnessed the harvesting of potatoes, popularly known as waru, in the first demonstration farm in Kieni Sub-County. Here, project assumptions, projections on yield per unit area as per the prescribed nutrition, crop protection and crop husbandry were put to test.

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The demo fully succeeded in achieving desired standards. The approved buyer of the produce Simplifine Limited (a food processor contracted by KFC to provide processed potatoes) also attended the demonstration and committed to buying directly from the farmers.

Co-op Bank entered into a consortium with other key players in the agricultural value chain to launch The Potato Consortium where every partner brings on board their domain expertise to support farmers in venturing into profitable and sustainable potato farming.

The Consortium Package

1. High-yielding potato varieties that are in demand by key food processors and retailers including KFC

2. Quality inputs availed at the right time and affordable prices

3. Agronomic support through extension services embedded within the County Government set-up i.e. use of Ward Agricultural Officers and Co-operative officers

4. Market-driven production, where farmers plant potato varieties that processors need, thereby undertaking contract farming with predictable off-take prices

5. Predictable yields based on prescribed package of crop nutrition and crop protection regime, supported by established demonstration farms managed by the consortium partners serving as centers of excellence.

6. Capacity-building for farmers co-operatives by Co-op Bank through Co-op Consultancy Services, to make co-operatives vibrant, well governed, efficient and profitable for better returns to the farmers.

7. Affordable financing from Co-op Bank, which is aligned to the potato crop cycle and structured to fund the needs of farmers throughout the production, harvest and post harvest management.

8. Digitization of the farming, production and marketing processes to offer reliable traceability to the consumer and enable all players plan ahead.

With the Nyeri demo having proven viability, the consortium will now proceed to recruit farmers for full scale production. Similar demo farms are underway in other counties identified for initial pilot namely Nyandarua, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nakuru.

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KALU MENGOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kalu Mengo is a Senior Reporter With Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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