Governor Kihika urges farmers to plant more potatoes
Nakuru Governor H.E. Susan Kihika has urged farmers in the County to grow more potatoes to meet local demand in the country.
Governor Kihika, who toured Simplifine Potato Factory in Naivasha expressed concern that the factory could not meet local demand for frozen french fries which stands at 350 tons in a month. Currently, the factory is processing between 7 to 8 tons of potatoes a day.
More importantly, she called on farmers to plant the right variety of potatoes as she promised to work with the farmers on certified seedlings and other inputs to increase their yields
“We want to get our farmers to start planting more potatoes and more so, the right varieties. Am more concerned that the factory is not getting enough supply of potatoes,” she said.
Governor Kihika said that her mission to restore Nakuru County as a manufacturing hub will be determined by using technology in farming and cited Simplifine Potato Factory as an example of value addition chain that will give Nakuru an edge in the agro-processing and Agri industry.
“We have the farmers, we have the climate, we have the demand at the right price and the willing support of my administration. We want to take our county forward into more manufacturing,” she said
Accompanied by County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) John Kihagi (Lands), Leonard Bor (Agriculture) and Stephen Kuria (Trade and Industry), Governor Kihika said her administration had embarked on promoting agriculture to increase farmers’ income and foundation for manufacturing.
“As Nakuru County, we are second in the country in the production of potatoes. We have to be deliberate and get our farmers to produce more of the right varieties to meet the demand for potatoes countrywide,’ she said. The factory’ she said, had aligned itself with plans of transforming Naivasha into an industrial town.
Speaking, Simplifine Potato Factory Head of Strategy, Mr Steven Carlton had the capacity of processing 12 tons of potatoes daily and 2,000 kilograms an hour.
“We are not meeting our full capacity because of the short supply of potatoes. This is also translating to being unable to meet the national demand of 350 tons countrywide,” he said.
Insisting on the need for the right variety of potatoes, he said they were employing the latest technology in cleaning and processing frozen french fries which are “crispy and fluffy”.
The factory wants farmers to grow markies, shangi and challenger varieties of potatoes which he said results in better frozen french fries. The factory currently sources its potatoes from Agrico Ltd and farmers in Timau, Kisima and Narok. It has a staff of 47 employees.