Nderitu, J. H. Chebii, W. Wacira, K (2020). NYANDARUA FIELD DEMONSTRATION FOR POTATO FARMERS

NYANDARUA FIELD DEMONSTRATION FOR POTATO FARMERS AND GROUPS IN NDONDORI, OL
KALOU HELD ON 20TH AUGUST 2020
Ndondori potato field demo attended by Local government officials who also ensure that COVID 19
protocols are strictly followed. Potato farmers observed social distancing, sanitized and wore face masks.
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A. Purpose/objective of the demonstration
1. To create awareness on the use of cuttings as a means of potato propagation
2. Project the importance of crop rotation and certified seeds
3. Demonstrate good agronomic practices for potato growth
4. Effective prevention of pests and disease, particularly using the certified COTEVA agrochemicals
B. Presentations by the key speakers and trainers
1. Education awareness on the use of potato cuttings for potato propagation
The Nyandarua farmers in Ndondori were taught on how to propagate a clean seed from disease
free CIP potato cuttings. This was considered superior as compared to the regular use of seed
tubers. It is advisable that the potato seedlings from cuttings be planted as soon as possible once
delivered by the CIP certified suppliers.
The cuttings utilize small spaces for establishment and ideal for the smallholder farmers of
Nyandarua who have small farm plots. The recommended spacing for cuttings was set at (25×75)
cm and 90cm between the rows. These potato cuttings are known for producing more tubers as
compared with other potato varieties that are propagated using tubers.
The first generation tubers from the first crop should be used as seed tubers and can be cultivated
proper for atmost three seasons on virgin pieces of land or on farms under crop rotation with non-
Solanaceae family members. The farmers were informed on the need and importance of having
soil tests in order to know the exact soil deficiencies and guide in the choice of fertilizers to use.
Farmers were advised to avoid using general fertilizers but adopt potato specific fertilizers like Yara
fertilizers since potatoes extract a lot of potassium from the soil. The farmers wanted to know the
common non Solanaceae members that can be rotated with potatoes and were accordingly
highlighted to included peas, sweet potatoes, capsicums, kales, cabbages, spinach, African Night
Shade, carrots among others. Crop rotation aid in the prevention of bacterial wilt
Farmers were advised to protect their crop from pests and diseases, and that spraying services
can be procured from certified agrochemical players. Most queries can be directed via the Viazi
Soko online platform. Good chemicals from the CORTEVA Agrochemicals were also
recommended. Farmers were asked to register properly the Viazi Soko app in order to access
potato services like soil fertility and nutrition, access to markets and that the app permit farmers to
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present their queries directly and is devoid of unsolicited brokers influence in the potato value
chain. A member going against the app requirements is removed.
2. Use of certified pesticides from CORTEVA agrochemicals
The Equation Pro was promoted for effective control of early and late potato blight. Recommended
rates were set for back pack sprayer was set in the range of 8-10g/20L of water. The
recommended application rates for the tractor sprayer was set at 400g/1000L of water. Daily
scouting and weekly spraying of the crop was highly recommended
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A staff from the CORTEVA agrochemicals teaching farmers on the ideal pesticides that deter pests
and protect potatoes from diseases leading to increased yields.
Bacterial wilt can be prevented using certified seeds, practicing crop rotation, having clean fields,
using clean tools and equipment, and use of non-contaminated water.
3. The potential of Agrico East Africa as a seed potato provider
Farmers were informed of the potential and reliability of Agrico E.A. in the provision of high quality
potato seed tubers. Agrico E.A has developed and approved 13 varieties for the Kenyan market.
All the high yielding seed potato varieties originated from The Netherlands. Among them are the
following top performing varieties as tabulated below.
S/No Seed potato variety Main identifying traits Maturing stage
1 Destiny Early main or second season crop
Suitable for crisps
Impressive yields
Good heat tolerance
Prolific numbers of round tubers
with yellow skin and shallow pink
eyes
High dry matter content
Early ±90 days
2 Manitou Main crop ware variety with an
attractive red skin
High yields
Good for home fries and table
consumption
Large oval tubers with shallow
eyes
Good heat tolerance
Late ±100 days
3 Markies High yielding variety, late main
crop
All round seed tubers
Good for fresh French fries, crisps
Late ±110 days
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or fresh consumption
Large, yellow, uniform-sized oval
tubers with shallow eyes
Good late blight and virus
resistance
4 Rudolph A main crop variety with attractive
red skin
Very high yielding
Good heat tolerance
Suitable for long term storage
Nice table variety
Medium ±95 days
C. Field/demonstration set up
Rows of different potato varieties were laid and demonstrated and properly labelled.
Figure: Almost mature Unica potato variety and the Wanjiku variety demo plot
D. Technologies/innovation being demonstrated
1. Potato variety selection
2. Potato app Viazi soko awareness
3. Use of certified seed potatoes
4. Effective use of certified pesticides
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5. Good agronomic practices for potato farming
Figure: Ndondori potato farmers instructed on choice of variety and growing conditions
E. Achievements/outputs of the demonstration
1. Farmers were informed on the importance of potato cuttings for clean propagation
2. Farmers were given the importance of new potato apps like Viazi soko
3. The importance of soil nutrition and fertility was emphasized
4. Farmers were informed on efficient means and way of protecting potato farms from pests and
diseases

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