Advantages of Venturing into Sweet Potato Farming

By Soko Directory Team / Published May 23, 2016 | 9:26 am





Sweet Potatoes, are tuberous crops whose plant is a creeper with heart-shaped or lobed leaves. The tubers color varies from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate and available minerals.

The red variety has drier and harder flesh while the white and yellow types have juicier flesh. The red variety has a characteristic aroma which becomes more prominent on boiling. The more reddish or orange the color of the flesh of the sweet potatoes, the stronger this aroma will be. Perhaps this is due to the presence of beta carotene, whose concentration also increases with the color.

With the high rising cost of what flour products, most Kenyans have turned back to taking traditional food products, sweet potatoes being one of them. Most Kenyan families are now turning back to eating the traditional tubers for breakfast options. This includes sweet potatoes which is one of the leading factors to the huge and still rising demand for sweet potatoes mostly in the urban areas.

Investing in sweet potatoes farming in Kenya has the potential of turning one into a very successful farmer. With the recent developments in Kenya’s agriculture, sweet potato farming has seen an increased popularity being grown by farmers, mostly the small scale farmers. Sweet potato has been one of the traditional foods in the African dishes and it is very healthy. The crop is mostly being preferred by many farmers as it is environmental friendly. Apart from its health benefits, it is also useful as it is said to reduce soil erosion and has very minimal chemical use.

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute has introduced a sweet potato variety that takes a short period to grow. The introduction of these varieties has seen an increase in yields. In Kenya, sweet potato farming is done at altitudes ranging from sea level to 2,500 meters. The skin color and flesh comes in a variety ranging from white, yellow, orange and deep purple.

Sweet potato has now become a cash crop in many parts of the country as farmers are earning a sustainable income from this traditional crop. The farmers have undergone over several series of classes in various platforms to learn and be educated by specialists on how to go about the sweet potato farming process.

With the increased popularity of sweet potatoes among Kenyans farmers, they still cannot meet the growing demand of the crop in the market. Sweet potato being a traditional food among others like arrow roots, cassava and yams is really on high demand as people are now going back to foods which can be grown organically.

More farmers need to venture into this field so as to help meet the increased demand of consumers. Sweet potatoes, especially the yellow fleshed variety are a good source of vitamins. They also have a higher yield compared to other varieties already cultivated.

Read: Soy Beans Farming in Migori County

Among all the other starch foods, including maize and Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes are known to have more calories than the others. Also it has a higher protein content thus it is highly nutritious.

The crop has a growing period of three to six months depending in the sweet potato variety. It also does well in abundant sunshine and temperatures above 24 degrees. Only a small portion of the sweet potatoes produces come from Central Kenya. Much of the sweet potato is being done in the Western Kenya where it is being cultivated in large scale.

With rising shift toward more traditional foods and as lifestyle changes there is an increased demand on healthier eating habits. Crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava, arrow roots and yams have become a favorite for many health conscious urban Kenyans. Sweet potatoes’ farming in Kenya has been embraced rather quickly and this huge potential needs to be tapped by more enlightenment to the farmers.


Article by Vera Shawiza.

 




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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