More woes for farmers as potato crop attacked by blight disease

Paul Macharia, 36, inspects his potato crop at Karirikami village, Kuresoi North. [Mercy Kahenda/Standard]

Potato farmers in the North Rift are staring at heavy losses following the ongoing heavy rains. The crops had been attacked by blight, which has been made worse by the rains.

Newly germinated crops in parts of Kuresoi, Njoro and Molo sub-counties have potato blight, which spreads faster in rainy season.

Peter Muga from Kanjo area in Mau Narok is among farmers counting losses after the crop was attacked by the fungal disease.

“Cold weather has affected the crop after germination,” said Muga, who has a 10-acre potato farm.

He is using chemicals he bought to contain the disease. He is worried because potato farming is his main economic activity.

He sprays the crop every weekly at a cost of between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000.

He is worried about high cost of production following the enactment of Finance Bill 2018, which raised farm input prices.

Chief Officer of Agriculture in the area Joel Kibet admitted that the rains are wreaking havoc to the crops.

However, he said agricultural officers will assess the magnitude of destruction and take appropriate action.

“I can’t state acreages destroyed by water. Because of the ongoing rains, farmers may be forced to replant the crops to avoid total loss,” he said.

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