The government of Kenya has signed a US $6m deal with BASF, one of the world’s leading chemical companies and IPR Consulting Establishment to develop a potato cooling plant in Ol’Kalou area, Nyandarua county.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia said the establishment of the facility is aimed at reducing post-harvesting losses in the region. The cold storage warehouse will be part of an Agri-Hub that will also comprise agricultural production and a fruit and vegetable processing facility.
“Farmers in the region would be able to store their produce in a state-of-the-art cold storage facility. We do not have even a single cooling facility for our potatoes and hence a lot of the produce goes to waste when there is potato glut. We appreciate the new initiative by our partners,” said Governor Kimemia.
Potato yield in Kenya
Energy requirements for the Agri-Hub will be provided by a solar energy generator, with battery storage from BASF’s New Business division. BASF Vice-President for Africa Michael Gotsche, who led the delegation, said the construction work for the Agri-Hub project would commence in October.
Nyandarua produces between 33 and 35% of total potato yield in the country.
The county requires between 80 to 100 tonnes of potato seeds annually, a capacity within the potato seed multiplication programme, which comes with a seeds storage section is struggling to meet currently. The new development, according to Kimemia would go a long way in boosting the potato farming in the country.