Co-op Bank leads push for quality potato


Co-operative Bank along Moi Avenue in Nairobi on January 25, 2023. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya will provide financing for potato farmers who want to grow the variety of the tuber required by major food outlets such as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

The listed lender is one of the five companies that have formed a ‘Potato Consortium’ bringing together firms that have expertise in all matters of the tuber in what is aimed at guaranteeing the value chain, from the quality of seed, farmer financing and food in the is of the highest quality of standards that is preferred by modern restaurant chains.

Others are agrochemical companies Yara, Bayer Crop Science, seed supplier Agrico PSA and food processor and distributor Simplifine Limited.

"The consortium of like-minded companies that play within the potato value chain, is addressing current barriers that potato farmers face, by enabling access to affordable and quality inputs, credit and sustainable markets," reads a brief on the project.

"The partners within the consortium have developed modular solutions that will help farmers increase potato yields through the use of appropriate input packages."

In January last year, KFC raised a storm when it said it had run out of potato fries even as local farmers struggled with a glut.

In this deal Co-op will provide capacity building to county governments of Nyandarua, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nyeri as well as co-operative societies to enable them to form and run strong, efficient and well-governed potato collectives.

It will also provide affordable financing for farmers to ensure timely access to quality inputs, water, mechanisation and post-harvest solutions.

Yara will provide crop nutrition and soil testing solutions.

Agrico will provide farmers with seed varieties that are high yielding and appropriate for various uses.

Bayer Crop, a crop science company in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control, will offer protection solutions.

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