It is located in the Rift Valley and it borders seven Counties; Laikipia to the north-east, Kericho to the West, Narok to the south-west, Kajiado to the South, Baringo to the North, Nyandarua to the East and Bomet to the West.
Nakuru County covers an area of 7,495.1 km2 out of which 5,274km2 is arable. Administratively, the county is divided into 11 Sub Counties/constituencies: Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North, Rongai, Nakuru East, Nakuru West, Naivasha, Gilgil, Bahati and Subukia (with a total of 55 wards)
The county has wide range of agro ecological zones ranging from tropical alpine to lower mid lands. There is a wide variation in altitude (1400-2970 m asl). Rainfall is bimodal long rains between March, April, May and June, while short rains occur between October and November with an annual average range of 500-1900mm. Temperature range is between 9oC-27oC. Soils are volcanic and well drained.
Potatoes are grown mostly grown in nine sub counties namely:-Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North, Rongai, Naivasha, Gilgil, Bahati and Subukia. The value chain is characterized by many small scale farmers scattered in nine Sub Counties and a few large scale farmers in Mau Narok and Sirikwa Wards. Kuresoi South Sub- County accounts for about 30% of the total potato production in the County
The crop is the second most important staple food crop after maize in the county achieving 39,000 Ha in the year 2019 with farmers realizing Ksh 7.7 Billion during that period.
The industry indirectly employs producers, market agents, transporters, processors, vendors and retailers. The Nakuru County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) 2018-2022 identifies Irish potatoes as one of the main cash crops produced in the county.
The county also host major certified seed producing companies such as ADC Molo, Agrico East Africa Ltd among others.
Potato Projects in the County
Project Name: NARIGP (National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project)
This is a Government of Kenya (GoK) project that is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives (MoALC&I), State Department for Crop Development (SDCD). The project was approved by The World Bank board on 23rd August 2016, became effective on 28th July 2017 and will run for five years.
Funding partner: World Bank
The Project Development Objective (PDO) is “to increase agricultural productivity and profitability of targeted rural communities in selected Counties, and in the event of an Eligible Crisis or Emergency, to provide immediate and effective response”
Specific objective under the potato value chain
- Formation of the Nakuru potato cooperative Union
- Supporting or procurement of a potato storage in collaboration with the Nakuru Potato cooperative Union
Project Name: Farm to Market linkages (FtMA)
The Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) is an initiative spearheaded by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) through a consortium of end-to-end value chain actors comprising of the following global members: the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Grow Africa, RaboBank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Yara International, Syngenta and Bayer. The interventions under FtMA are aimed at unlocking crop value chains in order to enhance the participation of smallholder farmers through increasing their marketable surplus thereby improving their livelihoods.
Funding partner: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
Objectives of the programme
The project aims at providing a holistic value chain approach to 4 major systemic problems confronting majority of the smallholder potato and maize farmers namely:
- Access to affordable finance
- Access to affordable finance
- Access to quality farming inputs
- Access to predictable markets
- Access to effective post-harvest handling and storage and other agricultural technologies
Community Action Research Approach Project (Seed Potato CARP+)
Egerton University, is implementing an innovative Community Action Research Approach Project (Seed Potato CARP+) along with the Baraka Agricultural College, Molo, the Nakuru County government, Ministry of Agriculture and the National Potato Council, titled “Enhancing production and access of high quality seed potatoes for improved income and livelihoods for smallholder farmers’
- To transform the potato value chain within Nakuru County into a vibrant commercialized sub-sector for improved income and livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
- It aims to enhance the research and agri-business skills of students at Egerton and Baraka Agricultural College through joint-experiential learning with smallholder potato farmers and potato value chain actors, as well as build capacity in seed and ware potato production and agribusiness skills, access and use by smallholder farmers in Nakuru County.
NPCK Activities with County
County Potato Strategy- Development of the county potato strategy spearheaded by NPCK, Egerton University, County government of Nakuru (Department of agriculture), NASFA , KEPHIS, SNV among others.
Nakuru County Potato subsector Coordinating Unit- Formed awaiting ratification. The coordinating unit has 4 sub-committees namely; Production, Postharvest management /value addition/marketing, Legal and policy regulatory framework and Coordination & resource mobilization and investment
Potato Liaison officer custodian of all potato information including a list of approved Chemicals to be used and potato training manuals.
NPCK also is part of the Crops (Irish Potato) Regulations, 2019 implementation committee and Nakuru county potato stakeholders’ forum.