The land is one of his most valuable assets, a source of money and food for his family. And the weather in Elburgon makes potatoes the only crop he can grow in order to make a profit.
But he is not the only potato farmer in this region or this country, which means that he is in the Seasons when he thought he was making the most money because of the high yields ended up frustrating.
“Sometimes, during the high season when we harvest a lot of potatoes (up to 40 sacks in a period of three months), the markets fill up and brokers buy at low prices of up to Sh500 a bag, “he said.
That has always been the delicate balance for potato growers, he told the nation – either with bumper crops Slump in market prices or lean production at low prices.
The case of Mr. Mukuria embodies the plight of thousands of potato farmers in Kenya. They always suffer from the hands of merciless brokers who buy products at throwaway prices due to the lack of proper market policies.
However, since potato growers have no market for their products – around 2.5 million tons annually – outlets like the US -American fast food chain KFC has been allowed to import potatoes for the past decade.
KFC, which imports potatoes from outside the Comesa market, has refused to disclose the standards that Kenyan farmers use should have met.
When asked by the nation which varieties of potatoes they prefer for their sales outlets and which quality tests the products must meet so that interested farmers can adapt their agriculture, KFC declined to provide the information.
The chain also refused to disclose what it pays for its imported potatoes and whether it has supported local farmers in doing so over the past decade t to grow better potatoes.
“While our frozen chips are currently being imported into Kenya, we were looking for a local supplier who could process B. the ability to track and cold chain manage KFC Delivering chips to our product consistency standards, which is an integral part of our customer experience, “KFC told the nation.
KFC claimed that 80 percent of the ingredients used in the food it sells are locally sourced and insist that the growth of local businesses is supported
“We know the importance of supporting the growth and sustainability of the local economy in the countries in which we operate and therefore, work closely with local suppliers throughout our supply chain, employ over 680 Kenyan citizens and proudly support many Kenyan companies, ”they say.
But even if the franc hise insists that local suppliers meet its standards, The Nation has confirmed that other international restaurants and five-star hotels in Kenya – which also serve food that meet international standards – source potatoes from the region.
< p> “We source all of our products – including potatoes for fries and other f oods – from Kenyans because our hotel wants to empower local communities,” said Randy Ngala, Radisson Blu’s Marketing Officer.
Potatoes supplied to us meet international standards, as the suppliers have been made aware of the requirements and know what is needed even at the time of harvest, in accordance with the established procedures. ”
Regarding the requirements of Radisson Blu for potatoes, said er, include the size and quality of the products. The hotel has a number of local and international customers.
Farmers and consumers say KFC’s policies demonstrate the government’s failure to protect the local market from importing products that are readily available, causing Kenya to lose capital.
Consumers said that when they bought potatoes in markets and hotels, they didn’t complain about the quality of Kenyan potatoes.
“I think we did build good potatoes in Nyandarua and other parts of the highlands. When KFC tells us they import theirs, it shows why our politicians and technocrats don’t care about job creation. CS (Peter) Munya would have advocated that that such companies use local resources, “said Henry Yatich.
The Secretary General of the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), Stephen Mutoro, said the policies of KFC are an affront to Kenya’s potato industry because it is the Products on u Fairly humiliated.
“Your customers are locals who also eat locally produced potatoes in other places. There have been no complaints from consumers about the quality of Kenyan potatoes, “said Mutoro.
” This is a prank by the retailer who is apparently more concerned about customer safety but is actually promoting the import of Products that are available locally. ”
Since KFC benefits from Kenyan customers, he said it should act responsibly and promote local farmers rather than importing the products.
In response According to the KFC report earlier this week that imported potatoes are preferred, other fast food restaurants including Chicken Inn, Burger King, and Galito’s have also announced that they are sourcing their potatoes locally.
Kenya The potato sector employs over 3.5 million people in value chains and contributes over 50 billion shutters to the economy, says the Department of Agriculture.
“Based on current trends, Kenyans are expected to grow by 2022 About 41 kg of potatoes per capita consume with the forecast that Kenyans will consume a total of 2.3 million (metric tons) of potatoes in 2022 (and) therefore the goal is to increase potato production to 2.5 million tons per year ”, says it is in the strategy of the National Potato Council of Kenya for 2021-2025.
Various studies have shown that Kenya’s annual potato production is between two and 2.5 million tons, and the harvest is the second most important staple food after corn of the country.
Data on Kenya’s international trade also shows that the country exports potatoes to the rest of Africa and elsewhere. including the United Kingdom, where potato exports were estimated at over Shill 600,000 in 2018.
In order to export to certain markets, potatoes must meet international standards.