Potatoes are the second most important crops in the world after cereals. Originally, the potatoes were grown in Andes, North America but have spread throughout the world. In Kenya, there are different varieties of potatoes grown in cool areas such as Rift Valley, Central and Eastern regions. In this post, we focus on the major varieties in the market.

For a farmer, it is important to determine what you want to do with your potatoes before planting any. This is because potatoes for home consumption and processing are different. You could talk to your potential buyers on what specific requirement they have in addition to the following guideline;

  • Asante

Leaves: broad leaves

Asante broad potato leaf

Broad Potato Leaf

Flowers: Purple

Tubers: Light pink tubers with purple eyes. The Asante variety produces about 6 big potatoes

Storage:  can be stored for up to 6 months before breaking dormancy. Therefore, the potatoes have a good storage quality.

Maturity: the Asante variety gives about three sprouts per plant. With good management, the potatoes will be ready in about 4 months.

Yield: From an acre, you can get 13 tonnes

Purpose: For chips and home consumption

Advantage: resistant to virus and tolerant to drought

  • Shangi
    Shangi Potato Purple Flowers

    Shangi Potato Purple Flowers

Leaves: thin leaves

Flowers: Purple

Tubers: whitish pink tubers with red eyes. The shangi variety produces about 30 medium sized potatoes

Storage:  the Shangi variety can be stored for up to 2 months before breaking dormancy (poor storage quality)

Yield:       From an acre, you can get 15 tonnes of potatoes.

Maturity: Shangi potatoes give about five sprouts and with good management, the potatoes will be ready in about 3 months

Purpose: used for chips

Advantage:    tolerant to viruses

  • Sherekea
Sherehekea Potato Variety

Dark Pink Tuber

Leaves: broad leaves

Flowers: Purple

Tubers: Dark pink tubers with purple eyes. The sherekea variety produces about 33 medium sized potatoes

Storage: Sherekea potatoes can be stored for up to 12 months before breaking dormancy

Maturity: the potato gives about 8-10 sprouts per plant. With good management, the potatoes will be ready in about 4 months.

Yield:       From an acre, you can get 17 tonnes

Purpose: For chips and home consumption

Advantage: tolerant to late blight

  • Tigoni
Tigoni Potato Variety Flowers

White Flowers

Leaves: broad leaves

Flowers: White

Tubers: White tubers with white eyes. The Tigoni variety produces about 6 big potatoes. However, due to the white tuber characteristic, the Tigoni variety is not readily accepted in the market as it easily absorbs light and turns green.

Storage:  can be stored for up to 6 months

Yield:       13 tonnes per acre

Maturity: Tigoni potatoes produce about three sprouts and with good management, the potatoes will be ready in about 4 months

Purpose: used for both chips and home consumption

  • Dutch Robijin

Leaves: broad leaves

Flowers: Purple

Tubers: red tubers with shallow eyes

Storage:  the Dutch Robijin can be stored for 2-3 months before breaking dormancy (poor storage quality)

Maturity: With good management, the potatoes will be ready in about 3 months.

Yield:       From an acre, you can get 13 tonnes

Purpose: For chips and processing. Due to the shallow eyes, the Dutch Robijin is a favourite with processors. However, in Kenya, it is advisable for now to plant it under an agreement with processors to avoid poor markets

To ensure that you have the right variety free from diseases, buy the initial seeds from certified dealers such as Kisima Farm and KARLO. You can then multiply the seeds for up to three seasons before going back for more certified ones.

To know how much profit you will make from potato farming, download a practical and detailed cost analysis business plan here

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