Post-harvest losses in potato value chains in Kenya

Improved production and harvesting technologies as well as improved post-harvest handling and packaging will have great impact in combating post-harvest losses in the potato value chains of Kenya, study finds.

The study ‘Post-harvest losses in potato value chains in Kenya: Analysis and recommendations for reduction strategies’ presents an analysis of food losses in the harvesting, processing and marketing stages in Kenya, and identifies options for the reduction of such losses at the operational and policy level. The study was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

According to the report, there are many factors contributing to the loss of the roughly 19 per cent of the produce damaged or lost per season. The survey showed that up to 95 per cent of recorded damage and loss occurs at the production level and is caused in particular by limited seed availability, inappropriate harvesting tools and an insufficiently trained workforce. Of the potatoes placed on the market, nearly a quarter are damaged or green, resulting in losses or low prices at the retail level. 

The authors of the study perceive that to strengthen market linkages in the potato value chain, it is necessary to stimulate and enhance cooperation and coordination between the different actors.

Moreover, potatoes play a critical role in alleviating food shortages in the context of the decreasing production of maize and other staples. The study suggests that improvements in the potato sub-sector will also help boost food security in the country.