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More funds needed to spur production of Disease free potato seeds – CAS Shebesh

NYANDARUA, Kenya, Jun 8 – The Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs has appealed for more funding into the clean potato seeds production unit at the Tumaini National Youth Service, Nyandarua County to help spur production.

According to the Ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh, the demand for disease free potato seeds had gone up with the unit unable to meet demand.

The CAS noted that the project uses aeroponics andhydroponics technology, which involves the use of cultured plantlets, has been able to increase its production by four percent since its establishment a year ago hence the need for support.

Speaking while she toured the project, Shebesh called on Members of Parliament to support the initiative during the next budget making process.

She noted that the initiative will go a long way in boosting production of certified potato seeds and help in realization of President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘Big Four’ agenda in the food security sector.

At the same time, the former Nairobi Women’s Representative called on the County administration practicing potato production to consider forming a good working relationship with the unit to boost local potato production.

Commanding officer at Tumaini NYS, Kennedy Nyakang’o noted that use of certified seeds will see farmers reap big as one certified tuber has a capability of producing 16 tuber unlike a recycled which produces 3 – 6 tubers when planted.

He said that the expansion of the unit from the current three greenhouses will see more farmers benefit as demand among counties and individual farmers was high.

Nyandarua Deputy Governor regretted that Potato farmers in the county have been grappling with lack of certified seeds and are forced to recycle those from past harvests.

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She attributed this to low yields as the seeds are often diseased, a move that was supported by Nyandarua County Women Representative Faith Gitau who said that insufficient availability of certified seeds and poor agronomic practices have also been associated with reduced yields.

Gitau noted that her office through the National Affirmative Action Fund will move in to help farmers access clean planting potato seeds.

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