International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Potato Value Chain Analysis in Mauche Ward of Njoro Sub-County, Kenya
Rael J. Taiy, Christopher Onyango, Agnes Nkurumwa, Kibet Ngetich, Rhoda Birech, Patrick Ooro

Potato ranks second after maize as a most important staple food in Kenya and is also a steady source of income for farmers. The Kenyan potato value chain is characterized by seasonality in production, price inefficiencies and post-harvest loses. This study was conducted in Mauche Ward of Njoro Sub-County to analyse the potato value chain in order to identify the opportunities and challenges and suggest possible intervention measures. The study employed Survey Research, key informant interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to collect data. The survey questionnaire was administered to 150 randomly sampled smallholder potato farmers. Focus group discussions engaged 10 potato input suppliers, 10 traders and 10 transporters. Key informants interviewed were purposively selected from key institutions such as Agricultural Development Corporation Molo - a major supplier of potato seed and Njoro Canning Factory, a food processor. The survey showed that 60% of the farmers were smallholders owning 2-5 acres of land. A majority of them (90%) used between 0.1 and 1 acre of their land to grow potatoes and earned K. Shs 50,000 to 70,000 per year. The study revealed a complicated value chain full of mistrust. Input suppliers complained of high cost of business licenses and credit purchases of inputs by farmers. Constraints cited by farmers included high cost of inputs, shortage of certified seed, inadequate potato storage, lack of market information and absence collective action in input acquisition and marketing. Transporters lamented about overloading by traders and high parking fees imposed by municipal markets. Traders exercised a lot of power in dictating potato prices. Recommendations for future interventions include formation of farmer cooperatives, contract farming, cottage value addition and formation of Collective Learning Communities to bring all actors along the potato value chain to address the constraints together.

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