Tag Archives: middlemen

POTATO MARKET SURVEY IN KENYA: AN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT VALUE CHAIN APPROACH (Published)

The Irish potato is a prominent food security and cash crop in Kenya currently second to Maize in importance as the largest consumed staple in the country. The crop, grown mostly by smallholder farmers, provides a source of food, income and employment to many Kenyans. A study to assess the market dynamics of potatoes in the country was carried out between July and September 2013. The Agricultural Product Value Chain (APVC) approach was employed in which stakeholders at critical levels of the potato value chain were interviewed. Purposive judgmental sampling of three producing counties and five consuming towns was done due to their high level of activity. A standardized questionnaire and an interview schedule were used to gather data. Descriptive statistics and proportions were used to describe the results. A total of 570 respondents were interviewed but due to overlapping roles played by some stakeholders operating at more than one level of the value chain, the number of respondents (considered on role play) rose to 679. Results revealed that some potato varieties were popular across the country due to qualities demanded by the market like long shelf life, size and shape of tubers as well as quality of end products like potato chips and crisps. Producers preferred the shortest marketing channel especially direct sales or through organized marketing groups while production depended on price of inputs especially seed, cooking qualities and buyer demands. Demand was found high throughout the year as supply fluctuated with seasons. A number of constraints across the value chain were identified including huge price differentials between farm gate and market sometimes influenced by middlemen, the use of extended bags sometimes weighing up to 200 kilograms, poor enforcement of regulations, inappropriate and inadequate storage facilities and poor physical conditions of the markets. Despite the constraints, the future of the potato business was described as bright with most players in the value chain declaring improvement in business over the previous five year period. The findings had implications on all value chain players and stakeholders

Keywords: Demand, Product value chain, Stakeholders, middlemen, preferences, supply