Promotion of Nutrition-Sensitive Potato Value Chains in East Africa
Project title: Promotion of Nutrition-Sensitive Potato Value Chains in East Africa Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Country: Global; Kenya, Uganda Lead executing agency: Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF), Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Overall term: 2016 to 2023
In Kenya and Uganda, over one quarter of the population is undernourished. More than 35 per cent of the people live in poverty, surviving on less than USD 1.90 a day. The agricultural sector is very important in both countries. It provides employment and income opportunities for up to 70 per cent of the population.
Potatoes are the second most important staple food in Kenya after maize and are a major source of income for roughly 800,000 farmers. The potato is also an important staple food in Uganda. It has the potential to provide high yields, and has a relatively short growth season of 90 to 120 days, which allows for two to three harvests per year. This makes the potato very well suited to increasing the incomes of smallholder producers over the long term. As a source of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, it meets the demand for healthy and rich foods and contributes to food security in both countries.
Nutrition-sensitive potato value chains are used in selected regions of Kenya and Uganda.
The project works with the responsible ministries in selected regions of Kenya and Uganda. It builds on bilateral programmes of German development cooperation and cooperates with private sector actors. This allows the results achieved to reinforce each other and the approaches to be integrated into the local structures on a sustainable basis.
As part of the One World – No Hunger Initiative, the project improves the yields and quality of potato production on smallholder farms and improves market access for the farmers. It ensures higher yields and incomes in the long term by promoting innovative and adapted cultivation and harvesting management, and by strengthening entrepreneurial skills.
In order to improve the nutritional status of malnourished people, family members learn all about a balanced diet, healthy food preparation, food storage, and basic hygiene in practical courses.
For innovative potato-farming knowledge to become firmly established over the long term and to give the sector a boost, the project promotes the exchange of expertise between producers, processors, academia, the private sector and policy-makers at national level.
Farmers and agricultural advisors trained by the project have already conducted 799 farming schools. In the process, 14,572 smallholders have been trained in good agricultural practices and profitable potato farming. Regular data collection has shown that application of the practices taught and improved seed have already achieved considerable yield increases, for example in Kenya from eight tonnes per hectare (in 2016) to 12.63 tonnes per hectare (in 2020).
In collaboration with the International Potato Centre (Centro Internacional de la Papa, CIP), the project has established demonstration plots with innovative farming practices, where advisors and farmers are trained. Here they learn about improved crop rotation, controlling potato diseases and crop protection as well as varietal options. Furthermore, the project assists smallholder seed producers with the implementation of modern seed propagation methods in collaboration with the CIP, thus improving the availability of high quality seed.
A large number of advisors have also received training in nutrition and health. The advisors have reached about 21,200 people in Kenya and Uganda through regular training sessions on the topics of cooking, food storage, establishing kitchen gardens, hygiene and nutrition. Current surveys have shown that the trained people are already applying the acquired knowledge and that a more divers diet has been achieved.
The project supports the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) and the Uganda Potato Platform Limited (UPP Ltd) in developing and implementing national and regional potato sector strategies. An international working group also involving partners from Cameroon, India, Mali, Nigeria and Tunisia promotes the sharing of experiences and knowledge and the transfer of technology.