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Seeing is believing

A large-scale demonstration-and-training program in Kenya is helping to scale out new technologies that will enable small-scale potato farmers to improve yields and quality. The program is led by three private firms: Lachlan (bio-enzymes for seed treatment and crop protection), Bayer (pest and disease management) and Yara (fertilizers).

The demonstrations are designed to highlight three aspects: The use of good quality certified seeds, timely land preparation and good husbandry, with judicious use of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals. Twenty demonstration sites have been established in eight counties: Nakuru, Nyandarua, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Bomet, Meru, Taita-Taveta and Laikipia. At each site, technical experts from 2SCALE and partner firms work with farmer groups to identify a suitable field, prepare the land and plant. Hands-on training continues through the season, helping farmers understand what specific nutrients or agrochemicals must be applied at different crop stages. Each demonstration has two plots, side by side for comparison: traditional farmer practice and the recommended technology ‘package’.

A series of field days was held between June and August, where farmers could see for themselves the advantages of the technology package, and interact with extension specialists. The field days attracted more than 900 farmers, including 300 women. In total, more than 3,000 farmers have been trained on crop husbandry. The demonstration plots are looking good, quantitative data will be available after the harvest in October.

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