Kenya’s Egerton University has been training and offering advice through a project called Enhancing Access to High Quality Seed Potato for Improved Productivity and Income of Smallholder Farmers in Nakuru County, implemented under the Community Action Research Programme (CARP+).
The programme is funded by the Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) initiative by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation.
The aim of the seed potato project includes educating farmers to plant only quality seeds, to properly test their soil and to effectively manage diseases and pests for increased productivity and to organize them in marketing cooperatives for increased income.
3,800 farmers have been trained directly at Egerton University through field days and small grower groups. In addition, some 12,000 others have benefited from the knowledge through outreach programmes and via the National Potato Magazine that regularly carries stories about the project. The project aims to train at least 10 postgraduate students, including eight masters and two PhD students.
“Learning happens at all levels, including at the farmer level. One of the aims of the project is to develop a potato variety suitable for drier areas with less rainfall. The variety is now undergoing field trials to test its suitability and tolerance for heat and drought. This would revolutionize Kenyan agriculture if it succeeds.