5 Innovative Opportunities In Sweet Potato Production In Kenya
Sweet potato was usually linked to household consumption and it was mainly in a boiling procedure but innovation in that terrain has led to a much more integral consumption and the incorporation of orange-fleshed sweet potato to Kenyans daily life.
This is part of a series of measures taken by the Kenyan government to overcome agricultural challenges in the country.
With A Little Help
Known as the AVCD (Added Value Chain Development) project, the initiative that is set to help the agricultural sector in Kenya is very much underway. As a part of the Feed the Future Kenya program, and with the help of the USAID, activities started in September of 2015 in at least 21 counties across Kenya.
Some of the involved entities were the International Potato Center, the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Trops. The idea of the first phase of the program is to increase productivity by applying technology innovations to selected value chains.
Agricultural growth is one of the strategies that the Kenyan government applied to foster inclusion and assuring food security for the country in a sustainable way, these can be found as pillars of the KARI, the most important agricultural organism in the country.
Seed System Development
The main focus of the sweet potato value chain was its very beginning, the seeds. It held some private-sector investments and has opened the door for over thirty thousand farming households to obtain quality seeds.
According to the studies done by the AVCD, better seeds being planted can lead to better varieties of potato, better practices, a substantial increase in the farmers income and ultimately sustainable food security for the country. The goods were not the only way in which the AVCD attempted to help farmers, also specific training on how to apply the better practices was given to all those involved.
Just to give out some numbers, farmers used to travel an average of 110 kilometers to access quality potato seeds and after this initiative, the number was lowered to only 2.
This helps the quality and business chain of potato production since seed multipliers increased their income as well as the number of clients they sold to in the past year.
As it is the case with the crop yield production that was increased by the use of new technology, the new barriers being opened by the application to sweet potatoes are many.
The main one is the introduction of the orange flesh sweet potato to large audience consumption.
This created two phenomenons: the first is the appearance of two large puree processors and derivate cook-foods made of orange flesh sweet potato and the second is the increase of demand, hence, the increase of production that spreads widely across the nation.