NPCK in collaboration with partners organized and convened the 2019 National Potato Conference and Trade Fair that was held on 23rd and 24th May 2019 at Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization Headquarters in Loresho under the theme: “Transforming potato value chain through innovation and partnerships for food and nutrition security, employment and accelerated economic growth.” The event had over 1,000 participants and 28 exhibitors drawn from the entire potato value chain including National government representatives, Large and Small Scale Farmers, Traders, Processors, Regulators, Input providers, Seed Potato Producers, Agricultural machinery companies and other value chain actors.
The first day of the event was targeting the youth and SMEs as participants. Top on discussion was the business opportunities along the value chain, how the youth can go about in taking full advantage of them as well as the finance options available to them. The discussions took place in the form of three plenary sessions with seasoned panelists drawn from different sectors of the value chain giving their input. The interative seasons gave the participants opportunity to get answers to their questions and direction from the experienced experts but also networked with a goal for further guidance after the event.
The highlight of this year’s event was the official launch of the Crops (Irish Potato) Regulation 2019 by Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri; Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation. Amongst other things, the regulation stipulates the packaging of Irish potato, its marketing and transportation requirements. (See a separate article titled “Launch of Crops (Irish Potato) Regulations 2019”on this newsletter for more details on the regulation).
The event also saw the official launch of the 2019 potato variety catalogue. The new catalogue has a total of 60 varieties. Four new varieties namely; Zarina, Farida, Rock and Lady Terra were added while Ambition, Saviola and Toluca present in the 2017 catalogue were omitted as the breeder ceased their production.