Improved potato management by 72,000 organized Kenyan farmers generates $34 million in sales over 6 years

Published on: January 25, 2022, Submitted by Enrico Bonaiuti on: January 25, 2022, Reporting year: 2021

Sustainable Development Goals Contribution

CGIAR Impact Areas

CGIAR Action Areas

The International Potato Center Accelerated Value Chain Development program (AVCD) and Kenyan partners strengthened capacities of partners, stakeholders and created farmers’ associations. 72,260 farmers learned CIP technologies, boosting yields from 7.7 to 11.5 tons per hectare and generating a value of 33 million USD in sales of potato over 6 years. Working closely with the county government partners to develop local potato sectors has been vital for success – the county governments invested over $1.3 million in potato to date.

In Kenya, potatoes are produced by 800,000 smallholders, with another 2.5 million people in the value chain. In spite of its importance, potato yields plummeted from 22 tons per ha in 2010 to less than 10 tons by 2019 (1). 


The Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) project managed by the International Potato Center reached 74,690 smallholder farmers with AVCD potato value chain agricultural and nutrition-related interventions, of whom 72,260 applied productivity-enhancing technologies and generated $34 million worth of potatoes. Five farmer associations organized by AVCD became financially self-sufficient. AVCD trained 65 ward agricultural officers, 99 nutrition officers and 193 community health volunteers in nutrition messaging (1,2).

After season-long training led by government extensionists, the farmers adopted new technologies, including certified seed potato, and increased their yields by 50%. Over 70% of these farmers were women. During Phase 2 yields increased from an average of 7.7 to 11.5 tons per hectare, and area planted to potato rose from a mean of 0.12 ha to 0.35 among project farmers (3).

The local county governments supported the associations, and prioritised potato in their development plans. Counties involved in the project invested $1.33 million in potato farming over the project period, investments which continue to grow (1,2).

In phase 1 (2015-2018), AVCD focused on traditional potato growing counties (Elgeyo-Marakwet, Meru, Nandi, and Uasin Gishu) while in phase 2 (2019–2021), the project established potato value chains in two more counties (Bungoma and Taita Taveta) (1, 2).

AVCD supported upgrades to Viazi Soko (Kiswahili for “potato marketing”) a platform hosted by the National Potato Council of Kenya, allowing farmers to order seed, connect with buyers of ware potato, get advice on pest and disease management and access other services. Over 98,000 farmers and 16 companies are registered, and over 1,200 have used the platform (4,5,6).

The five county-level farmers’ organizations formed by AVCD have become self-sufficient. The Nandi Potato Farmers’ Cooperative Society became a nationally-recognized model for establishing a farmers’ association. The cooperative acquired a license to produce certified seed, and engaged other farmers’ associations as out growers (7). Farmers in many of the organized groups began producing certified seed in association with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization.

Stage of Maturity and Sphere of influence

  • Stage of Maturity: Stage 2

  • Contributions in sphere of influence:
    1.2.2 - Reduce Market Barriers
    1.3.3 - Increased value capture by producers


This research was undertaken as part of, and funded by, the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and supported by CGIAR Trust Fund contributors. Funding support for this work was provided by (names of all donors in alphabetical order). Funded by Feed the Future (FTF) of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


  • Accelerated Value Chain Development Program in Kenya


kenya value addition seed potato potato local government farmer organizations


About the author

Monica Parker is SCIENTIST at International Potato Center - CIP.