Six counties have entered into a pact to jointly enforce the potato regulations that seeks to make sure the produce is packed in 50kgs.
Under the pact, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gichu and West Pokot counties will cushion farmers from brokers who for years have exploited them.
The counties accused the government of focusing all its energy on the tea, coffee and dairy sector and ignoring potatoes which earned the country over 70B every year.
This emerged when the governors and representatives from the six counties met in 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 assist in enforcing the new 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.
Kinyanjui added that the sector employed over 1m families adding that the six counties would in the next one month come up with grading guidelines.
“We are asking the State to make sure that potatoes coming from neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania conform to the new regulations in terms of packaging,” he said.
He called for the formation of a taskforce which would develop a structured framework and agricultural land policy that would transform the sector and increase 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 Sh0.5m,” he said.
On his part, Elgeyo Markwet Governor Alex Tolgos praised the court for lifting an order that had barred the counties from implementing the packaging rule.
Tolgos added that they were keen to work as one team to fully implement the regulations and protect the farmers who had been exploited for long.
“We are keen to protect our farmers from brokers and we shall make sure that they get value for their produce,” he said.
Nyandarua deputy Governor Cecelia Mbuthia added that the county produced 33 percent of the potatoes consumed in the country but farmers had little to show for it.
“Potato is the mainstay of many farmers in the country but unfortunately the focus has been on the tea, dairy and coffee sectors and there is a need to change that,” she said.
This was echoed by her Uasin Gichu counterpart Daniel Chemno who noted that potato was the most consumed produce in the country after rice.
“Farmers in Rift Valley who for years have relied on maize are keen to change to other crops like potatoes which have high financial value,” he said.