Policy, Lobby and advocacy
Through policy, lobby, and advocacy, the Council has been able to get the attention of the government and other key stakeholders while potato subsector has received more support. This is a strategy that the council intends to upscale further into a fully-fledged programme since the many complex social, political, and economic issues in the subsector need proper lobby and advocacy platform. The Council is better placed in its orientation as an independent multi-stakeholder outfit to lobby the government on behave of the subsector players and actors. Through this programme the NPCK will ensure that the voice of all the players in the industry is heard and the various government institutions and ministries are engaged to deliver the requisite services needed towards improved productivity and profitability of the industry. Under this theme also lies the lobby for enforcement of relevant laws, regulations, and standards which are long overdue. The potato policy which is yet to be finalized and adopted is a major concern among the industry’s stakeholders. For the subsector to be vibrant it is a prerequisite that appropriate legal and policy framework is in place.
Collaboration, partnership, and networking
Part of NPCK’s mandate is to coordinate the different activities and orientations of its diverse members towards building partnerships that are more meaningful and synergies among them. It provides a forum for the industry players to engage, negotiate, plan, lobby and advocate for their specific member issues and chart a common way forward for the industry. NPCK aims at creating an environment of purpose and relevance for all players in the industry from the farmers to marketers and create an attitude of partnership and trust among them. This will be achieved through proper stakeholder analyses, sensitization, and education on the multi-stakeholder forums for synergistic developmental approach and fair competition for the industry players. The NPCK will lobby for more attention and focus on industry research and development, policy framework and joint strategic industrial planning approaches on issues of common interests among the players.
Potato prices in Kenya vary from region to region and farmers from one region will always complain of low prices in comparison to what other farmers in other regions are getting. The potato prices are mainly affected by target markets and seasonality. Low quality of potatoes are marketed, mainly because most farmers don’t practice good pre- and post- harvest handling leading to potato tubers of different varieties, cut, rotten or even potatoes of different sizes being packaged in the same sack.
High cost of transportation also highly increase transaction cost which lower farmer profitability. Most potato growing areas have very poor feeder roads while some are totally impassable which leads to very high cost of transportation. The prices of potatoes can only be consistent if marketing is organized and well structured. The council intends to design a participatory approach and deliver a more organised potato market and marketing structure in the country. There is definitely a window of opportunity for creation of many enterprises at all stages of the value chain as well as quality products along the value chains with the long run outcome of this being wealth creation and equitable distribution of the same across the chain actors and service providers. The earmarked strategies to be pursued include; setting of minimum gate prices for potatoes, development of collection centre and warehouse receipting system for organised marketing and value addition and other product handling practices including sorting, packaging and branding that could also improve the industry’s competitiveness in the regional and global markets.
Information and communication
Living in the information age, industry’s growth and competitiveness will depend on effective communication of relevant information. Knowledge and information management is crucial for growth, common understanding, effective partnership, and synergies among stakeholders in the industry. The NPCK intends to undertake the task to collect, collate and disseminate accurate and timely information to different users in the industry. The council working with stakeholders will produce different publications and information materials including banners, magazines, pamphlets, calendars, manuals, and booklets to inform the industry and promote potatoes and their products. Beyond publications, the NPCK will also explore use of both print and electronic media and the internet through the Councils’ website to reach diverse users. The information passed will be accurately processed and researched to articulate different stakeholder specific information needs. The council is also planning through the implementation of this strategy to computerize information on seed and ware production and marketing through creation of a seed production and distribution strategy for the industry. Alongside this, the Council will also as part of its plan introduced mobile phone based marketing services for both seed and ware potatoes. Information and communication will be a key growth strategy for the NPCK.
Finance and organizational sustainability
Entrepreneurship is a key strategy for sustainability of the NPCK. The activities to generate income to run the council’s activities are significant and will include the following options; operationalization and management of potato collection, storage and information centres in all the potato growing regions across the country at a premium; production and supply of branded low cost potato standard bags across the country; negotiate with the relevant authorities for possibilities of collecting Cess and levies on potatoes; fees from seed potato inspection services after authorization by KEPHIS and fees from pesticides efficacy trials after authorization by PCPB. The Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, KALRO, GIZ and KENAFF have been very instrumental in the success of the Council strategies thus far. The Council will in the strategic plan period build and develop key development partnerships with existing and new partners as part of sustainability plan.
Cross cutting issues
There is need for NPCK to inform policy making on mainstream cross cutting issues in the industry programmes. Some of the key highlighted cross cutting issues include, HIV and AIDS, gender, Climate change and youth empowerment. It will be critical for NPCK to develop a gender policy for its membership and Secretariat, other cross cutting issues will be keenly absorbed into all the programmes and projects by the Council. Under this theme, the council intends to ensure there is a Youth, Gender, HIV, and AIDS policy, a climate change adaptation strategy for the potato industry and the programmes that encourage youth participation while creating employment opportunities for them.