Benefits of potatoes
Potatoes in Kenya are mostly planted as cash crops and as food crops,the demand of potatoes has been reported to be rising each and every year especially international and local market.
The international market like France has demand for potatoes because of the culture of making French fries. Potatoes has many Economic and nutritional value.
Potatoes are sold to markets and earns the farmers involved with decent income. Potatoes also offer carbohydrates to the body. In joints,cafes and hotels potatoes are in demand because of the fried chips made using potatoes.
to plant potatoes in Kenya some of the requirements needed include;
- a suitable piece of land
- DAP fertilizers at a rate of 200 kg per acre
- Certified seed tubers 10 bags for one acre approximately
- You will need insecticide for spraying pests as soon as the potatoes mature.
plough the land to be planted to uniformly ensuring that hard pans and weeds are completely removed from the soil this will ensure the tubers development.
Ensure the land being used is free from pests from previous planted crops it is always advisable to plant potatoes on land abandoned for three months to avoid cost of controlling pest and diseases.
Dig uniform furrows mainly 15 m long and ensure spacing of 100cm between furrows. Place DAP fertilizer on the furrows and now tubers with uniform spacing.
after you have placed the tubers on the furrows, cover the them with uniform soil ensuring the sprouts on tubers are facing up before covering with soil.
it is advisable to plant before the rains. Weeding starts as soon as the potato plant grows above the soil. As soon as the potato plant attains 25 cm length, earthing is done to enhance the development of the tubers.
Diseases affecting the potatoes may occur later which include bacterial wilt and blight, spraying fungicides on affected crop is advised.
The potatoes are ready for harvesting four months later on maturity of tubers and when leaves are wilted. Harvesting using fork jembes is done to avoid cutting. The harvested potatoes are Packaged on sacks ready for sale or consumption.
Important farm practices tips
weeding: This is getting rid of unwanted plants that grows alongside planted crops and compete with them for nutrients and water, they also harbour pest and diseases which might be harmful to plants and also reducing the yields.
Nutrition: nutrients helps plants in good growth and high yields there are various fertilizers types that can be added to plants, they include the basal,foliar through the macro and micro nutrient elements
Basal fertilizers; these are available in Argostores countrywide they include DAP,CAN,NPK and UREA.
Manure; these are nutrition added to soil to increase nutrients they include animal droppings and decomposed Waste from grass and plant waste.
sheep goats and cows waste can be dried to make manure then added to soil to add nutrition decomposed waste can also be added to the soil to provide maximum nutrition to plants.
manure is widely used and available in Kenya with cheap price.
Irrigation:this is a common practice by farmers especially in areas that receive minimum or no rainfall at all. It has proved to be an effective method in crop production especially in semi-arid areas like Perkerra irrigation scheme in Marigat area Kenya. High-yielding crops are produced in this area with irrigation practice.
Types of irrigation method include.
- Drip irrigation
- Canal irrigation
- Overhead irrigation
Mulching: this is a practice of adding materials like grass Waste or husks on nursery beds or on top of root seedlings covered by soil after planting.
Mulching helps to conserve moisture in the soil as it reduces evaporation of water from the soil, mulching helps to suppress weeds also. When mulching is done soil gets exposed to minimal sunlight hence discourages the growth of unwanted plants called weeds.
This practice is effective on nursery beds and newly transplanted crops.
Pruning: some plants develop Overgrown branches, buds and also yellow or withered leaves, it is important to pluck off these leaves and branches to make a clean plantation and also to reduce infection to other leaves which may occur with infected or withered leaves.