Co-op Bank’s Initiative spurs Local Potato Farmers to attain Global Quality Standards

Potato farmers hit a key milestone on 30th June for potato farmers in Kenya as key players in the potato value chain “The Potato Consortium” concluded a major step towards realizing ‘farm-to-plate’ value chain model.

The consortium led by Co-operative Bank in collaboration with the County Government of Nyeri and other consortium partners Yara E.A, Bayer E.A and Agrico PSA witnessed the harvesting of the potatoes in the first Demonstration Farm in Kieni Sub-county in Nyeri, whereby project assumptions, projections on yield per unit area as per the prescribed nutrition, crop protection and crop husbandry were put to test.

Agro Potato Services Africa’s Conen Henreyer, the President of Simplifine Steve Carlyon, Nyandarua Governor Kiarie Badilisha and Head of Agri Co-operatives at Co-op Bank Esther Kariuki during the Potato Consortium launch in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua.

The Demo fully succeeded in achieving desired standards. The approved buyer of the produce Simplifine Limited (a food processor contracted by KFC to provide processed potatoes) also attended the demonstration and committed to buying directly from the farmers without going through any middlemen.

Co-op Bank entered into a consortium with other key players in the agricultural value chain to launch The Potato Consortium where every partner brings in board their domain expertise to support farmers venture into profitable and sustainable potato farming.

The Consortium has put together this package;

  1. High-yielding potato varieties that are in demand by key food processors and retailers including KFC
  2. Quality inputs availed at the right time and affordable prices
  3. Agronomic support through extension services embedded within the County Government set-up i.e. use of Ward Agricultural Officers and Co-operative officers
  4. Market-driven production, where farmers plant potato varieties that processors require, thereby undertaking contract farming with predictable off-take prices
  5. Predictable yields based on prescribed package of crop nutrition and crop protection regime, supported by established demonstration farms managed by the consortium partners serving as centers of excellence.
  6. Capacity-building for farmer’s co-operatives by Co-op Bank through Co-op Consultancy Services, to enable co-operatives become vibrant, well governed, efficient and profitable for better returns to the farmers.
  7. Affordable financing from Co-op Bank which is aligned to the potato crop cycle and structured to fund the needs of farmers throughout the production, harvest and post-harvest management.
  8. Digitization of the farming, production and marketing processes to offer reliable traceability to the consumer and enable all players plan ahead.

With the Nyeri demo having proven viability of concept, the consortium will now proceed to rollout by way of recruiting farmers for full scale production. Similar demo farms are underway in other counties identified for initial pilot namely Nyandarua, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nakuru.

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