A total of 18 tonnes i.e. 360 bags of 50 Kgs each were issued to 64 farmer groups beneficiaries for seed bulking and demonstrating plot establishment. The programme targeted Kieni East and Kieni West Sub-counties where a total of 22.5 acres of land was put under Irish potatoes. A total of 248 bags were used for seed bulking issued to 11 farmer groups and planted in a total of 15.5 Acres while the remaining 112 bags issued to 29 farmer groups were used in establishment of demonstration sites.
The Irish crop did well until the flowering stage when continuous heavy rains led to blight attack and water logging. The Department of Agriculture tried to salvage the situation through the following interventions;
• For the crop that was already affected by blight, farmers were advised on use curative fungicides at the right time and reduction of spray intervals.
• For the crop that was not affected by blight, the farmers were advised to use preventive measures for instance spraying with preventive fungicides.
• For water logged soils, farmers were advised to clear the channels and use fallows smooth drainage.
Consequently, the Irish potatoes in the demonstration sites have not been harvested yet and it is presumed that the harvest will be as expected. For the 248 bags of Irish potato planted for seed bulking, 38% which is 94 bags of the seeds have already been harvested from 4 groups out of the 11 farmer groups which benefited.
It is important to note that this was the first phase and only a few groups benefited. It is presumed that during the next phase of this project the crop performance will be better and more beneficiaries will be reached