Six counties have entered into a pact to jointly enforce the potato regulations that seek to cushion farmers from exploitative brokers.
The pact will ensure the produce is packed in 50kgs in potatoes growing counties including Nakuru, Nyandarua, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot.
The agreement was arrived at when governors and representatives from the six counties met at Lake Naivasha Resort to strategize on the way forward.
Addressing the press after the meeting, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui called on the national government to put some focus on the potatoes sector the same way it was doing on coffee and dairy sectors by helping the counties in enforcing the potatoes regulations.
He called on the Ministry of agriculture to make sure that all county crops inspectors were gazetted to make it easier to enforce the laws.
Saying that the potatoes sector directly or indirectly employed more than 1million people, the governor asked the national government to make sure that potatoes coming from neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania conform to the new regulations in terms of packaging to safeguard the Kenyan farmers and their livelihood.
He said the six counties will in the next one month come up with grading guidelines and called for the formation of a taskforce to develop a framework and agricultural land policy that will transform the sector to improve potato production.
“Anyone who contravenes any provision of the regulations commits an offence and is liable to a jail term or even a fine of half a million shillings,” he said.
Elgeyo Markwet Governor Alex Tolgos praised the court for lifting an order that had barred the counties from implementing the packaging rule, noting, the counties are now keen to work as one team to fully implement the regulations and protect the farmers who had been exploited by brokers for long.
Nyandarua deputy Governor Cecelia Mbuthia told the meeting that the county produced 33 percent of the potatoes consumed in the country but farmers had little to show for it, adding that it was high time that the government enforced the regulations.
Uasin Gichu counterpart Daniel Chemno said in Rift Valley, farmers who have been relying on maize are now keen to change to other crops like potatoes which have high financial value as the most consumed food in the country.