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 Overall term: 2016 to 2022
In Kenya and Uganda, about a quarter of the population are considered to be undernourished and more than 30 per cent live on less than USD 1.25 a day. The agricultural sector is very important in the two countries. It provides employment and income opportunities for more than 70 per cent of the population.
Potatoes are the second most important food crop 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. With high yields and up to three harvests per year, the potato (Solanum tuberosum) is ideal for increasing the incomes of smallholder producers in the long-term. As a source of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, it serves the demand for food on the one hand, while contributing to food security on the other.
The nutrition-sensitive promotion of potato value chains offers greater potential in selected regions of Kenya and Uganda.
The global programme – Promotion of Nutrition-Sensitive Potato Value Chains in East Africa – works in selected regions of Kenya and Uganda. The programme coordinates with the local ministries and builds on bilateral programmes of German development cooperation. 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 global programme will raise the productivity of smallholder farms and improve the quality of their potatoes. Higher yields and income are ensured in the long-term by promoting innovative and adapted cultivation and production methods, and by strengthening entrepreneurial skills.
In order to improve the nutritional status of malnourished people, family members learn all about a balanced and healthy family diet, food preparation and storage, and basic hygiene in practical courses.
In an attempt to mainstream innovative knowledge in the long term and to give the sector a boost, the programme promotes the exchange of expertise between producers, processors, science, the private sector and politics at national level.
Agricultural advisors trained by the programme and by the staff of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) have already successfully trained 1,780 farmers in 94 farming schools during the first two cultivation periods. The trained farmers are now in a position to apply the knowledge they have gained. Initial measurements on the farming school demonstration plots have already achieved average increases in productivity of 5.3 tonnes per hectare (increase of 66.25 per cent).
In collaboration with the International Potato Center (CIP), 12 innovation farmshave been established, which serve as learning centres for farmers, especially for learning about improved crop rotation, control of nematode infestation and bacterial wilting, as well as biodiversity.
Furthermore, training sessions for 60 nutritionists from the ministry of health have been successfully carried out at district level. The trained nutritionists have been able to give further training to a total of 280 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) so far at village level. Around once a month they train around 5,700 people on topics such as cooking, food storage and hygiene.
Finally, in collaboration with the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK), the programme supports the implementation of the National Potato Strategy (2016–2020), which was adopted in 2016. This has already been adapted for the project areas.