One of the key bottlenecks in the potato industry is the shortage of quality seeds. Various efforts and initiatives have been undertaken by the government, KEPHIS, and other partners to improve the seed potato industry. These initiatives include private accreditation, increased seed producers, the release of more potato varieties, the adoption of new seed production technologies, and an improved certification process. New seed breeding and production technologies play a key role in improving seed availability and accessibility. Among the latest technologies in seed breeding and production is Hybrid True Potato Seeds (HTPS), a technology invented by Solynta. This technology has shown a high potential for transforming the seed potato industry. This technology has been successfully piloted in some African countries, such as Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. This system does not only lead to less transmission of diseases and higher yields, but it also implies significantly lower transport costs, high accessibility, and an accelerated capacity to breed high-yielding processing varieties.
On 17th August 2023, Solynta in partnership with NPCK and other partners, held a Field Day at Molly Ltd farm in Limuru. The main objective was to showcase and compare the performance of the HTPS vis-à-vis the conventional seed potato system. During the field visit, this technology proved to be superior in terms of breeding and producing specific varieties that are resistant to late blight disease. Solynta uses a unique breeding method that targets specific best traits in developing new potato varieties that are adapted to even the most difficult climatic and growing conditions. It is also very easy to transport; 25 grams of disease-free seeds as a starting material to plant 1 ha instead of 2,500 kilograms of seed tubers. In attendance were National Performance Trial (NPT) Committee Members, KEPHIS, NPCK, Kevian Kenya ltd, Viazi Kings Ltd.
The participants during the field day inclusive of the NPT committee