Economic Importance, Ecological Requirements and Production Constraints of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) in Kenya
Mwakidoshi, Emmanuel R.
Gitari, Harun H.
Muindi, Esther M.
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In Kenya, potato production is done mainly by smallholder farmers as a key food and cash crop. About 83% of the country’s crop production is mainly in highland areas with an altitude of between 1,200 and 3,000 m above sea level. The country’s average potato yield ranges from 8 to 15 t ha−1, 2 to 3 times below the achievable yield of 40 t ha−1. The production is mainly limited by unavailability of certified seeds, increased pests, diseases, decreased soil fertility and erratic rainfall. The current work reviews the current status of potato production in Kenya with emphasis on its importance, ecological requirements and constraints. HIGHLIGHTS m Potatoes require a minimal of 750 – 1000 mm rainfall with altitude of 1500-4200 m.a.s.l and temperature range of 15-20°. m Potato plants have a higher nutrient requirement, for macronutrients for optimal growth and profitable production. m Factors affecting potato production include inadequate fertilization, seeds quality, pesticides and herbicides high pricing, pests and diseases and climatic variations.