Nyandarua is one of Kenya’s most productive potato-producing counties. It has 37,000 hectares under cultivation each year, with an average yield of 550,000 tonnes worth Ksh 10 to 12 billion. This demonstrates that it has the potential to become Africa’s leading potato grower.
Francis Kimemia, the governor of Nyandarua County, fought to strengthen the potato sector. He claims that the County Government took steps to promote the potato sector, including the establishment of potato storage facilities, the promotion of value addition, the formation of task forces to enforce the 50kg bag for packaging of ware potatoes regulations, and the rehabilitation of the road network to reduce post-production losses caused by market access.
The introduction of a potato seed multiplication unit at ATC Oljororok, he said, aims to boost the industry by providing subsidised fertilizer and improving access to quality seed.
The Governor calls on the national government to establish a minimum wage for potatoes, similar to that for maize, so that farmers can profit from their efforts.
Despite the county government’s support, Nyandarua county’s potato crop has decreased. This is the result of several difficulties faced by farmers. Farmers in the Oljororok division participated in an interview. Here, there was a revelation of their main challenges.
Rainfall changes, a lack of clean seeds, and crop diseases have all been identified as important issues in the division’s potato production. Rainfall variability takes 45 percent of respondents as the primary cause of lower potato yields, followed by a shortage of clean seeds (33%), and crop illnesses (6%).
As a result, farmers in Nyandarua are looking for new crops to grow. Because the county is so fertile, the list is somewhat large. In Nyandarua, some of the alternatives to potato growing include the following:
Potatoes, cabbages, carrots, peas, and milk are some of the products that do well.
Cabbage gardening is a popular hobby among many people since it is simple to grow and provides a decent crop rotation option. However, before engaging into this farming, market oversupply must be well-understood in order to avoid incurring losses. A market glut is usually caused by the same crop being planted and harvested at the same time.
Cabbage cultivation is still a very profitable business in Nyandarua. Smart businesspeople understand how to manipulate market dynamics to their advantage.
Farmers must analyze market patterns and be able to predict when it is the ideal time to supply, as well as explore new markets to which they can sell their produce, in order to overcome market oversupply.
Cabbage farming necessitates your full concentration, just as it does in the office; you must be actively involved. Long g
one are the days when you could contact your farmhands and ask them whatever task they need to do and when they need to do it.
Peter Karugu Njoroge, a cabbage farmer from Kipipiri Nyandarua County, appears to have a strong grasp on the market. To avoid falling prey to market uncertainty, he conducts a market feasibility assessment before planting his cabbages.
Nyandarua county has been named the country’s top producer of snow peas, accounting for more than 60% of overall production. Peas growing is one of the most profitable areas in the county, according to Matheri Hungu of the Kinangop Farmers Association. Due to the huge demand in Europe, it helps hundreds of farmers.
Carrots are popular vegetables that are easy to grow. They grow all year round and are very resistant to most pests and diseases. In Kenya, most of the farmers grow the orange variety. Cold weather is an important factor when cultivating carrots otherwise they can turn to bitter taste and develop into thin tap roots. Nyandarua County being a cold area leads in production of carrots.
In 2022, the approximate price range for Kenya Carrots happens to be US$ 0.23 and US$ 0.21 per kilogram or between US$ 0.1 and US$ 0.1 per pound(lb). The price in Kenyan Shilling is KES 25.06 per kg. The average price for a tonne is US$ 230.02 in Mombasa and Nairobi.
Apples grown at elevations ranging from 1800 to 2800 meters above sea level. Kipipiri and Kinangop in Nyandarua county are examples of such places.
In a season, a mature, well-managed apple tree can produce more than 500 fruits. At a decent spacing, an acre may support 500 trees, with a fruit retailing for $15-30 at the farm gate. As a result, a single tree can provide an average of Ksh 10,000, while a one-acre apple orchard can yield Ksh 500,000.
Farming of dairy cows
Dairy farming employs 80 percent of Nyandarua’s farm families and 65 percent of households.
The County has a total dairy herd of 349,300 cows, with most farms keeping two to three dairy cows, resulting in a milk production of approximately 296 million litres.
Annually, the sector contributes approximately KShs. 13 billion to Nyandarua’s GDP.
The average price of a litre of milk in Kenya is KShs 36.
The sector employs 136,270 people directly and generates an estimated daily revenue of KShs. 29 million.
60% of milk produced is for informal marketplaces, with the remaining 40% sold in formal markets.
The average yield of maize Nyandarua is 25 bags (2.25 metric tonnes) per hectare, resulting in a production of roughly 270,000 bags (24,300 metric tonnes). Much of the county’s maize has been farmed in the central zones of the Ol’Kalou, Ol’Jororok, and Ndaragwa sub-counties for numerous years.
In Nyandarua, there are various crops that do well commercially. Beans are grown in portions of Ndaragwa and Oljororok. Tomatoes grow nicely at the Laikipia-Nyandarua border in Nyandarua’s north. Nyandarua county also has a thriving goat and sheep farming industry. In Kipipiri and Kinangop, sheep thrive, whereas goats thrive in Ndaragwa.