The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and potato breeders have introduced a total of 53 new varieties of Irish potatoes.
The newly released varieties are said to have met the required standards set by the international fast food joints.
The move comes as a relief to most hotels (local and international) and fast food restaurants that have for a long period of time been importing these types of potatoes so as to meet customer demands as far as French fry tastes are concerned.
The varieties released by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and potato breeders have been improved to meet the standards.
“These restaurants that have set shop in the country have quality standards to adhere to, hence need suitable potato varieties to produce their food.
The released varieties meet some of these quality standards,” says Kephis managing director Esther Kimani.
“The release of new varieties, in essence, means that these hotels and restaurants do not have to import potato.”
Locally, Tropical Heat Company has complained that though there are plenty of potatoes in the country during harvesting time, most varieties do not meet specifications for making crisps and chips, forcing them to import from Tanzania.
Kephis says the new varieties are resistant to diseases, a move that will help farmers cut cost incurred in controlling diseases.
Potato supply in Kenya is constrained by unavailability of certified seed as only one percent of seeds used by farmers is certified.