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Six counties enter into pact to enforce potato rules

By Antony Gitonga | January 21st 2021

Fresh produce farmers in Kinangop Nyandarua County harvest potatoes with food prices dropping sharply in the last two months. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Six potato growing counties have entered into a pact to jointly enforce regulations seeking to end exploitation by middlemen.

Under the pact, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gichu and West Pokot counties will ensure potatoes are only sold in 50kg bags.

The counties also criticised the government for ignoring potato farming, which they said earns the country Sh70 billion annually.

This agreement was made in Naivasha where governors and representatives from the six counties met to strategise on the way forward.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui (R) and his Elgeyo Markwet counterpart Alex Tolgos (L) sign a joint pact on 20/1/21 that will see six potato growing counties enforce the potato regulations. [Antony Gitonga]

Addressing the press after the meeting, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui urged the government to assist in enforcing the new regulations.

He at the same time called on the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure all county crop inspectors are gazetted to make it easier for them to enforce the laws.

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Kinyanjui said the counties will come up with grading guidelines in the next one month.

“We are asking the State to make sure that potatoes coming from Uganda and Tanzania conform to the new regulations in terms of packaging,” he said.

Elgeyo Markwet Governor Alex Tolgos praised the court's decision to lift an order that had barred the counties from implementing the packaging rule.

Tolgos added that they were keen on working as one team to ensure the regulations are implemented.

“We want to protect our farmers from brokers and we shall make sure that they get value for their produce,” he said.

Nyandarua produces 33 per cent of the potatoes consumed in the country.

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