Kenyan Research Organization Develops Potato Varieties with Longer Shelf Life
The Ministry of Agriculture through Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro) developed potato varieties with a longer shelf life.
The new variety will enable farmers to store their potatoes for longer and sell them when the prices are appropriate. The tubers can last up to five weeks while in the pantry and four months if stored in a cooling plant, according to Kalro’s experts, cited by TheStandard.
Recently speaking to farmers at Kalro Njoro in Nakuru County, during a field day organized by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya, revealed that plant researchers at Kalro are concluding the final tests on the new varieties of Irish potatoes that will last longer after harvesting. The varieties are resistant to diseases and pests and mature faster.
The Kenyan government official revealed also that the varieties under trials will be unveiled in April next year and the State department for Agriculture in collaboration with local Governments of potato growing counties will distribute the flagship seeds of the varieties to farmers to enhance productivity and profit.
Among the 38 varieties of Irish potatoes developed by Kalro between 1953 and 2017, the Shangi variety is popular with smallholder farmers, but growers have lodged complaints about its short shelf life. Farmers had asked for a variety that they can store for longer periods as they await better prices at the market.
Shangi was released in 2015. It takes three to four months to mature, it is highly prolific, and cooks faster.
Finally, the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary encouraged farmers to adopt the new seeds of the new varieties once dissemination begins to improve their yields, earn profit and improve their livelihoods.