NPCK in collaboration with other partners is monitoring availability and prices of potato farm inputs and services during this crisis caused by Covid 19 pandemic. The goal is to identify any unusual serge of prices or shortage of inputs and services that may affect production and marketing of potatoes. Any anomalies identified are reported to the national committee handling the Covid-19 crises which has been constituted by the National government for solution search and redresses.
When the lockdown started in early March, the Council noted a slight increase in fertilizer prices (6.7%) in counties such as Bomet, Narok and Elgeyo Marakwet. Purchase of farm inputs and services also went down compared to other years because most farmers prioritized buying food for their families as opposed to farm inputs. This is expected to have a negative impact on total yields and incomes of farming families.
During this rainy season there is also a high risk of late blight infection on potatoes and without proper management such as the use of right fungicides in the correct rates, it will further adversely affect yields. Council is currently advising farmers using bulk SMS via Viazi soko digital platform on mitigation measures to deal with production challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.