Potato farming in Kenya

ByElijah Ludenyi

Jan 28, 2023
Potato farming in Kenya

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 05:54 pm

Have you decided to venture into potatoes farming in Kenya.

In this guide I will take you through the complete process of setting up a one-acre potatoes farm in Kenya.

In this article you will learn about the cost of starting a potatoes farm, the benefits of potato farming in Kenya, the nutrients of potatoes, and the different types of potatoes that do well in Kenya.

I will also discuss how to prepare, plant and care for your potato farm.

In addition, you will also learn about the climatic and soil conditions for potatoes farming, as well as the market size and opportunities for potatoes farming in Kenya.

And lastly, take you through the harvesting process, and advise you on some of the challenges and solutions associated with potato farming in Kenya.

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What are benefits and nutrients of Potatoes Farming in Kenya?

When you grow potatoes in Kenya, you not only get a nutritious tuber, but you also get a crop that is fairly resistant to pests and diseases.

However, in terms of nutritional benefits. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fiber. They also contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may offer some health benefits.

An added benefit of potatoes farming in Kenya is that you can sell the tubers fresh or processed.

And because of this benefit there is a growing demand for processed potatoes in the Kenyan market, so you can make good profits by processing and selling your crop.

What Counties Does Potatoes Do Well in Kenya?

The truth is that potatoes do well in most parts of Kenya.

However, the best areas to grow potatoes are in the highlands where the climate is cool and the soil is fertile. The highlands are found in the central, western and Rift Valley regions of Kenya.

Preparing, Planting and Caring for Potatoes

When you’re ready to plant your potatoes, the first step is to find a space with full sun exposure and well-drained soil. Next step is to improve the soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or manure, to ensure good drainage and adequate nutrients.

Planting potatoes

Dig a hole that is twice the size of the potato’s diameter, and place the potato in it with the eye (the sprouted end) facing up. Cover the potato with soil, and tamp it down gently. Water generously immediately after planting.

Caring potatoes

Potatoes need plenty of water during the growing season, so make sure to water regularly, especially during dry spells. Also practise mulching because it will help retain moisture in the soil. You can also side dress your potatoes with some organic fertilizer once they start flowering.

Harvesting Time

Harvest time for potatoes is 90-180 days after planting, so keep an eye on your plants and harvest when they are at their prime.

Climatic and Soil Conditions for Potatoes Farming in Kenya

When it comes to potatoes farming in Kenya, you need to have the right climatic and soil conditions for it to be successful. So the right climate should be cool and moist for a successful crop, with temperatures ranging from 12 to 21 °C and up to 25 °C.

In terms of soil, it should be a well-drained sandy loam that has a pH of 6.0 – 6.5 as well as some organic matter content. It should also have access to sufficient water supply and should be free from major stones or other large obstructions.

In addition, before planting your potatoes, you need to make sure that the soil is prepared properly.

For example, it should be plowed or dug to reduce soil compaction and make sure that any weeds are removed. You also want to mix in organic matter like compost or manure so that the potatoes will have enough nutrients as they grow.

Varieties of Potatoes to Plant in Kenya

When it comes to potatoes, Kenya has a few popular varieties.

The most common is the Irish potato, also known as the white potato, which is grown in Nyanza and western Kenya. There’s also the sweet potato, which does well in Central and Eastern Kenya.

Then you have an assortment of heirloom potatoes that can be grown virtually anywhere in the country. These include fingerlings, Red Pontiacs, Purple Majestics and even Peruvian Purples – each of which has its own unique flavor and texture profile.

No matter which variety you choose, you should always try to purchase certified virus-free seed potatoes from a reputable dealer or seed retailer. Planting infected tubers could spell disaster for your crop – so it’s important to start off on the right foot.

Also Checkout: Beginner’s Guide to Mangoes Farming in Kenya

Cost of Starting One Acre of Potatoes Farm in Kenya

So, you have decided to venture into potatoes farming in Kenya. But first step is to calculate your budget.

It will cost you between KES 90,000 and KES 150,000 to start an acre of potatoes farm in Kenya. This includes the cost of land preparation, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.

In addition to the initial costs, you will also need to consider ongoing expenses such as labor costs, transport and marketing costs. It is important to note that the costs might fluctuate depending on the suppliers and market conditions in your area.

You can further reduce the cost by using composted manure as fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizers. If you are a beginner you can also consider opting for local potato varieties as they require less investment than hybrid varieties.

Market size and Opportunities for potato farming in Kenya

The demand for potatoes in the market is skyrocketing, making it a lucrative business opportunity.

Potatoes are in high demand due to their health benefits, which includes being rich in vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates.

Additionally, they have low saturated fat and no cholesterol.

The market size of potatoes farming in Kenya also represents potential opportunities for farmers who are looking to make profits from their produce.

Potatoes are used in many industries such as processing, food service and retail among others therefore, making it big investment for Kenyans. However, the key challenge for most farmers is getting access to the these markets and establishing contacts with reliable buyers.

However, if you are able to overcome this hurdle then there are plenty of opportunities out there waiting for you.

You can even start your own business by selling potatoes directly from your farm or through local grocery stores and supermarkets to make sure your business is profitable and successful.

How and when to harvest your potatoes

Knowing when to harvest your potatoes can be tricky, so it’s important to keep a few tips in mind.

First, check the size of the potatoes. After about 4-6 weeks of growing, you’ll typically start to see small potatoes forming around the base of the plant. When these potatoes reach about the size of an egg, it’s time to harvest.

Another indication is when the plant begins to flower or wilt. This is a sign that it has reached maturity and is ready for harvesting. You’ll want to harvest before any diseases or pests attack your crop.

You can also check the color of your potato plants’ leaves. If they turn yellow or brown, this indicates that the plants are ripe and ready to be harvested.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you harvest on a dry day with no rain in sight—this will help ensure that your potatoes don’t rot before storage.

Pro and cons of potato farming in Kenya

Potato farming in Kenya has its pros and cons, just like any other agricultural activity.

On the one hand, it offers an opportunity to increase your income and living standards.

It’s also great for diets as potatoes are full of essential vitamins and minerals. But on the other hand, potato farming is labor intensive and the market for potatoes can be quite volatile.

The cost of up-keeping a potato farm in Kenya is much higher than it is in other countries, especially when it comes to irrigation and fertilizers.

Furthermore, farmers face certain risks such as disease which can lead to substantial losses. Also, farmers could face delays in accessing markets due to infrastructure or logistical problems which might lead to wastage of produce.

Despite this, there are ways to mitigate these risks and learn more about the pros and cons of potato farming in Kenya so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to embark on this journey.

So, there you have it. A comprehensive guide to potatoes farming in Kenya. The process of setting up a potatoes farm is not as daunting as it may seem, and with a little bit of hard work and dedication, you can be well on your way to reaping the many benefits that this lucrative venture has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many bags of potatoes can 1 acre produce?

It depends on the type of potatoes and the farming conditions, but a good estimate is that one acre of potatoes can produce between 60 and 100 bags of potatoes.