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Prices hike for Irish potatoes

The price of Irish potatoes in Nakuru city has risen to unprecedented levels, with a 90-kilogram sack selling at Sh.4000, which has made it almost impossible for retailers to buy and sell in their kiosks.

A kiosk operator at Shabab estate who has always sourced potatoes from the Wakulima market in Nairobi, Faith Njoki, said her customers cannot afford to buy a 2kg tin at 250, hence her decision not to stock the commodity anymore.

However, a large-scale producer of potatoes in Kuresoi area of the county, who is also a seed producer, Mrs. Salome Mwangi said that the delayed rains affected this year’s production in the county.

While speaking to KNA today at a Nakuru hotel she said the Kuresoi potato farmers have the capacity of producing sufficient potatoes for the county if only they were supported to irrigate farms instead of relying on rainwater.

With the high prices of maize, many families in the county are finding it difficult to feed their families, despite the county having high agricultural potential in the country.

The County Director for Agriculture Fredrick Owino disclosed that in the year 2018 potato farmers earned Sh.9.4 billion from the sale of 541,000 metric tons, but since then the unpredicted weather patterns have drastically reduced the production.

He noted that the few farmers who managed to get a relatively good harvest have made good profits because the demand was high especially at the moment due to the Christmas festivities.

In the past, farmers used to complain about low prices because many of them harvest at the same time due to the reliance on rainwater, and that leads to a glut.

Apart from maize, the second most important crop in the country is Irish potatoes which are consumed as a carbohydrate in the country.

Due to the high prices of Irish potatoes, the humble and despised sweet potatoes are currently selling at the level of hot cakes, albeit at a much cheaper price compared to other carbohydrates foodstuffs.

By Veronica Bosibori

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