Peter Koima November 8, 2023
Increasing Access to High-Quality Potato Seeds in Partnership with FIPS-Africa
The County Government of Nandi through the Department of Agriculture and Cooperatives Development has renewed ties with Farm Input Promotions Africa (FIPS-AFRICA) with a view of supporting smallholder Potato farmers to increase access to affordable certified potato seeds.
Farm Input Promotions Africa (FIPS-Africa) is a non-profitable organization whose mission is to quickly and cost-effectively improve the food security of smallholder farmers through improving their access to the appropriate farm inputs, and information on their best management.
In the new arrangement, FIPS in collaboration with the department will support seed multipliers and extension officers jointly producing Quality Declared Seeds (QDS) in the county. Whereas the county will deploy extension officers to backstop and handhold farmers, FIPS would leverage its resources to build capacities of farmers through demo farms and the extension personnel to undertake regular inspections.
During a stakeholder engagement forum that brought together various stakeholders from the county, Dr. Paul Sanga, the Chief Officer for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, commended this partnership, emphasizing its potential to enhance the potato value chain in the county. He encouraged farmers to make use of the potato mechanization tools available at the county’s Agricultural Mechanization Service (AMS) center.
CPA Caroline Lagat, the Chief Officer for Cooperatives Development, urged farmers to embrace the cooperative model to circumvent middlemen who often exploit farmers. She lauded the Nandi Hills Potatoes Farmers Cooperatives, which has evolved from a NARIGP-funded Common Intranet Group CIG to a Producer Organization, currently cultivating over 40 acres of Irish Potatoes.
Mr. James Ngugi from FIPS highlighted the pressing issue of limited access to high-quality seeds, which poses a challenge to the sector’s sustainability. He explained that FIPS will collaborate with the County Government to ensure that farmers have access to Quality Declared Seeds through innovative approaches like Village Based Advisors (VBA) and small pack strategies, particularly in cases where certified seedlings are unavailable or unaffordable.
The workshop was attended by various stakeholders, including the project coordinator for the NAVCDP project, Mr. Jared Mutai, SCAOs, WAOs, representatives from the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), farmer cooperatives, and individual farmers. #ContinuedTransformation