Nyandarua County has set aside Sh400 million for construction of a potato value-addition plant at Shamata. Governor Francis Kimemia said the project will commence in January with a completion date of May.
It will be ensure farmers access the market with a variety of products derived from potato.
“This will see farmers’ earnings go up by an estimated 40 percent. This will also see the middlemen exploitative tendencies in the value chain defeated since farmers will gain more bargaining power,” he said. The project follows the flop of another factory owned by Midlands in Njambini.
To help farmers gain maximum benefit, Mr Kimemia said his government has already launched programmes aimed at bringing potato farmers into producer groups so as to be accessing value addition services with bulk deliveries.
Further, he said there are programmes already running that seek to sensitise farmers on good husbandry practices in potato farming for maximum productivity.
“We have also liaised with experts in this field to recommend quality and approved seeds in the current financial year, the county government has allocated Sh100 million for use by our farmers and too, we are supporting them with inputs,” he said.
Mr Kimemia said the funding of the project is a collaboration between his government and the central government, with plans underway to roll out some other three additional plants to cover the expansive county.
The governor noted that potato farming can be used as a platform to create wealth in the county since besides direct earnings to farmers, the sector can be used to create jobs.
He called upon area Senator, Mwangi Githiomi to push for adoption of potato law by both the Senate and the National Assembly.
“This law should govern potato trade where quantity of measure for the market should be 50-kilo bags as opposed to the current situation where buyers force the farmers to pack their produce in 120 kilo bags,” he said.