A member of staff from the NYS Tumaini farm showcases the different seed varieties available at the farm to a guest, during the Farmers’ Field Day at the Farm on December 13, 2019 | Photo: Serah Njenga
Kenya’s food security efforts has received a boost through the unveiling of the country’s first-of-a-kind potato seed multiplication technology facility at the National Youth Service’s Tumaini Farm, Nyandarua County.
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), with its mission of providing science-based regulatory service through assurance of quality agricultural inputs and produce, collaborated with NYS-Tumaini farm in Nyandarua County to establish the modern aeroponics unit for multiplication of Irish potato breeder seed to enable farmers access clean and certified seed varieties.
Aeroponics is a technology that grows plants in the air or mist environment without the use of soil. The mist or air is laden with nutrients that the plant requires for normal growth.
The national government, under its Big Four Agenda, priorities food security as one its key pillars in the country’s development policy. For this to happen, investments in potato, maize and rice have been identified as the key drivers towards the country’s food and nutritional security.
This new technology was first showcased in December 13, 2019. Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) partnered with KEPHIS, NYS Tumaini farm, the County Government of Nyandarua, and other key stakeholders to conduct a farmers’ field day in Tumaini. The theme of the field day was “Technology and crop diversification for food and nutrition security, improved income and sustainable standards of living”.
More than 1,000 farmers attended the event to learn more about the technology in potato seed production and new potato varieties. It was also a great opportunity for the farmers to interact with experts in the industry and have their queries and concerns answered. Other technologies in crop production, seed multiplications and seed varieties were also showcased during the forum.
Nyandarua county has good soils and climatic conditions for production of diverse food crop varieties. They have identified the potato as their main food security crop due to its key economic contribution.
Creating awareness through practical demonstration and enabling ease of access to high-quality seeds, will enhance farmers’ capacity to produce high quality produce.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mr Julius Njogu expressed his excitement over the launch of the seed production unit in the county.
“Farmers lacked the right seeds that would produce more yield in this county. We thank you for the demonstrations and giving us accessibility to the seed production at NYS Tumaini,” he said.
“This seed production unit is a dream come true and we are grateful for the great turnout. The aim of this project is to provide farmers with certified seeds for farming. We will set up a potato seed distribution centre here to enable farmers access new seed varieties and technologies at an affordable price,” said the NYS Director-General Matilda Sakwa.
She was excited about the seed production farm because it will help farmers increase productivity.
Potato is a short cycle crop, with high productivity per unit of land, and is a major source of income and food security.
One of KMT focus in Agricultural Inputs Sector is to facilitate farmers’ access to quality inputs and information on good farming practices through working with key stakeholders in the sector to achieve that boosting farm level productivity.