Another Goldmine for Farmers in the Offing
selling raw potatoes, a farmer could clean his potatoes, peal them, slice them
into thin chips, wash the starch and using a normal pan fry the chips, season
with salt and vinegar, package and distribute in the market as snack!
While the farmer may sell his potatoes raw at Kes20 a bunch of four potatoes, there is added economic value in turning the four potatoes into snacks. Hypothetically, four potatoes make two potato chips bags and each goes for Kes40 in the supermarkets. The farmer makes 150% more from his four potatoes with value addition as opposed to selling them raw.
This is an opportunity for small and medium size farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in the high and medium potential areas of potato production. Considering that potatoes are perishable, surplus production by farmers lands them in the hands of mean middlemen. Value-addition eliminates perishability once processed and gives the farmer control over his surplus increasing market competitiveness.
Most farmers cannot enter into potato processing and value addition for lack of recommended technical knowledge to achieve the required quality of potatoes. Some products like potato crisps require certain varieties like the Dutch Robjin or Kerr pink but are not easily available to farmers. Poor harvesting and postharvest handling techniques, poor packaging and transportation techniques and high cost of obtaining capital to establish a processing plant are the other challenges facing farmers.
Farmers have an option to form groups, get training on postharvest handling and processing of potatoes and seek support to venture into the untapped farm produce value-addition venture.
With one of its kind banana processing plant operational in Kisii, farmers are sure to create more wealth out of the government initiative and more youths from the area are bound to get employment in the sector they have long neglected.