Maturity period of potatoes varies from one variety to another. The maturity is usually indicated by yellowing of the crop’s leaves.
If the field is under irrigation, the practice should be stopped 2 weeks before harvesting. The vines should be removed 2 weeks before harvesting (also referred to as Dehaulming), this will allow potato tuber skin to toughen up first/hardens and as a result it will increase its shelf life in case of preferably longer storage period.
During harvesting, avoid/minimize injuries as much as possible since any slight injury creates an opening which acts as entry point for pathogens thus leading to rotting while at storage. Tubers should be harvested when the soil moisture content is low to prevent soil from sticking onto the tubers. In case the tubers are harvested when the soil is wet, ensure air-drying to remove the soil so as to retain quality during packing, packaging or storage.
During harvesting, do not expose tubers to direct sunlight as exposure to sunlight causes greening of potatoes (Solanine) hence lowering the market demand due to poor quality.
Harvesting is done using fork Jembe, plough or mechanical harvester. After harvesting, the left-overs such as plant parts and rotten tubers should be collected and burnt away from the plot to avoid spread of infection in the next planting season.