Valuable Partnership for Potato farmers

Potato Farmers in the County stand to benefit from effective storage solutions

Ms Edith Kimani ,Chief Officer (CO), Ministry of Trade, Industrialization,Tourism and Co-operatives, on behalf of the CEC for Trade Dr. Peter Ketyenya, had a meeting today with representatives from Hanse Agrostore International, a world leader in provision of agricultural produce storage based in Netherlands. Mr Chris Ramos and Mr. Luke Kessei, paid a courtesy call in her office where they discussed launching projects in Nakuru County aimed at helping potato farmers get effective storage solutions.

Hanse Agrostore International is a member of Hanse Steel Group and has traditionally always been active in the agriculture sector. The company has been building and developing agricultural storage buildings for over 40 years. During this period of time, substantial knowledge and experience in the storage and preservation of agricultural crops has been gained. A wide variety of agricultural projects, which initially started out as small ideas on Hanse’s drawing-board, have ended up as well-installed, solid constructions, resulting in many satisfied clients globally.

Mr. Ramos (left) and Mr. Kessei (right) when they paid a courtesy call on Ms Edith Kimani (center) on 23rd March 2018

Mr. CJ Ramos said that after investigations on storage challenges faced by farmers in Kenya, they discovered that when potatoes are harvested in East African countries, farmers harvest and take their produce to the market at the same time. This means that at any particular moment there is abundance of produce, which drives prices down.

In addition to this, poor preservation methods makes availability of potatoes run dry within a short period of time and also leads to wastage from spoilt produce. From these findings, Hanse International has developed a storage facility specifically designed to cater for the humid East African climate. The storage facility can store potatoes for several months with hardly any losses and without need for electricity.

He added that they have launched demonstration projects in Ainabkoi, Uasin-Gishu County and are looking forward to partner with Nakuru County Government to launch the same project in the County to help the local potato farmers get effective storage solutions and marketing of their farm produce.

Ms Edith Kimani, welcomed the investors to the County, terming the project as a brilliant initiative towards helping potato farmers and that it was perfect timing based on its urgency. She said that the County Government is ready to partner with local and international investors not only in support for potato farmers but also for other agricultural produce like carrots, maize, milk and many more.

She encouraged the Hanse AgroStore Investors to partner with Nakuru County’s’ Agro Business park and have their project developed within the park and relevant Sub-Counties that grow potatoes. She added that she is working with other stakeholders to come up with the exchange process center within the agribusiness park in Egerton.

Ms Edith said that, the Ministry of Trade and Co-operatives will encourage small and medium scale farmers to group themselves into co-operatives and take advantage of the potato storage facilities once initiated in Nakuru County. This will shield them from price exploitation from brokers and losses from spolit produce.

Ms Edith, promised the Hanse Agrostore officials that she will consult for further deliberation and immediate partnership with the organization for initiation of the project in Nakuru County. The project will not only help the farmers increase produce and sales, but also create direct and indirect jobs opportunities for youth in the County.

Source: Amos Bett – Ministry of Trade and Industrialization

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