, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – Potato farmers in fourteen counties are the winners following the introduction of new packaging regulations which will be implemented across the country.
The Crops (Irish Potatoes) Regulations 2019, which were gazetted two months ago by the National Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, require that all potato packaging in the country be capped at 50 kilograms bringing to an end an era of farmers’ exploitation by brokers and middlemen.
In order to enforce the new regulations, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia has called on all players in the sector to ensure that proper sensitization, stakeholders’ engagement, speedy registration of farmers and value chain actors and the formation of joint intra and inter-counties implementation committees.
This is a major milestone as the implementation and regulations takes effect to ensure that the farmers will no longer be at the mercy of the brokers, who do not bear any production costs.
Pledging to ensure that the regulations are applied across the board, representatives of two other major potato producing counties – Nakuru and Elgeyo Marakwet – Kimemia said the counties will work together in the joint committees to ensure every farmer finds protection in the law and benefits from their hard labor.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, Agriculture County Executive Committee Member (CEC) Anne Kibosia said that already they have made plans to ensure that these regulations are effected with immediate effect adding that they were counting on Nyandarua, as the leading potatoes producing county in the country, to set the pace.
Her sentiments were echoed by her colleague, Dr. Immaculate Maina from Nakuru, who promised that her county will jointly work with Nyandarua to ensure a smooth and synchronized implementation.
The joint committees will be responsible for compliance and enforcement of the regulations, a position supported by Nyandarua CEC for Agriculture, Dr. James Karitu, who also promised to quickly mobilize resources for sensitization and awareness across the County.
The leaders observed that the achievement of the new regulations is a great milestone in fulfilment aspirations of thousands of potatoes farmers across the country.
Further, the Governor promised to ensure that value addition of farm produce, including milk, is fast-tracked in the county to enable farmers realize maximum benefits.