The seeds are expected to benefit some 240 farmers who will plant them in 85 acres of land in Kieni and Mukurwe-ini subcounties
Nyeri county government on Friday distributed 80 tonnes of certified seeds of Irish potatoes to farmers for planting.
Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the seeds will benefit 240 farmers and will be planted in about 85 acres. The farmers are expected to produce 640 tonnes of potatoes when the plants mature.
The seeds were bought at a cost of Sh4.2 million and are expected to mature in three months.
The production, the governor said, will improve food security. He said the locust invasion and now the coronavirus pandemic will hurt the economy and food security.
“But we thought it is wise to prepare so as to ensure we do not ground every other programme despite the Covid-19) threat that we have,” Kahiga said.
The Irish potato seeds consignment has 1,600 bags and will be distributed in four wards in Kieni constituency. The wards include Gatarakwa, Mugunda, Thegu and Gakawa.
Another 20 tonnes of the seeds will be distributed in Mukurwe-ini subcounty.
Kahiga asked the farmers to work closely with the county extension officers to ensure maximum output.
The governor spoke during the flagging off of the consignment outside his office.
Agriculture executive James Wachihi said the seed varieties include Shangi which is the most popular in the area. There are also Markies, a Dutch variety good for chips and crisps.
The executive said they introduced Markies because it is a high-yielding variety and good for the niche market because of traders who prepare chips and crisps.
The consignment is part of the Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Project running in the county in which Sh57 million worth of aid has been dispensed.
Some 65 groups in selected areas in the county are set to benefit from the aid from KCSAP this financial year.
Climate Smart Agriculture’s objective is to have farmers improve productivity, profitability, resilience, adaptation and to enhance food security, without a negative impact on the environment.
The programme which is being undertaken in 24 counties is a five-year project that is funded jointly by the World Bank and the Government of Kenya.
The project’s development objective is to increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to climate change risks in targeted smallholder farming and pastoral communities.
It is also meant to provide an immediate and effective response in the event of a crisis or emergency.
edited by peter obuya