Shebesh calls for funds towards production of clean potato seed

Written By: Hunja Macharia/Lydia Mwangi
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The Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs now wants more funds injected towards production of clean potato seeds.

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The production unit located at Tumaini National Youth Service in Nyandarua County needs resources to help spur production.

According to the Ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh, the demand for disease free potato seeds has gone up and the unit cannot meet the demand.

The CAS noted that the project that uses aeroponics technology which involves the use of cultured plantlets has been able to increase its production by 4% since it’s established a year ago.

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Shebesh who was speaking when she toured the project called on Members of Parliament to ensure more funds are allocated during the next budget.

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She said it will go a long way in boosting production of certified potato seeds and help in realization of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ agenda in food security.

Shebesh at the same time called on the County administration practicing potato production to consider forming a good working relationship with the unit to boost local potato production.

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Commanding officer at Tumaini NYS, Kennedy Nyakang’o noted that the use of certified seeds will see farmers reap big as one certified tuber can produce 16 tubers unlike a recycled one which produces 3 – 6 tubers when planted.

He said that the expansion of the unit from the current three greenhouses will see more farmers benefit as demand in Counties and among individual farmers remains high.

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Nyandarua Deputy Governor Cecilia Mbuthia said Potato farmers in the County have been grappling with lack of certified seeds and are forced to recycle those from the past harvests.

She attributed this to low yields sentiments echoed by Nyandarua County Women Rep Faith Gitau who said the unavailability of certified seeds and poor agronomic practices have also been associated with reduced yields.

Gitau noted that her office through the National Affirmative Action Fund will move in to help farmers access clean planting potato seeds.

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