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1.0 INTRODUTION 1.1BACKGROUND INFORMATION In Kenya the agriculture sector continues to be the backbone of the national economy constituting directly 25% of gross Domestic product ADP and 60% of expert earning. However, majority of Kenyan population is still food insecure estimates available indicates that about 50% of the population lack access to adequate food and even little they get is of pad nutritional value and quality. The incidence and prevalence of food insecurity is more sever in arid and semi arid lands( Asal )due to the erratic rainfall and lack of adequate resources endowment. Current days droughts are even more serious than the old one due to destruction of environment especially forests to give rain for the fast population increase to cope with the situation growing of Irish potatoes which rather perform well is practiced to ensure food security for societal residence. In Kenya Irish potatoes is classified as horticultural crop. It is an early source of food earning cash and is grown twice per year mainly for subsistence. The tuber has become a stable food especially in rural Irish potato growing areas. The natural potential of the highlands characterized by fertile soils and good rainfall has not been fully realized. Yields have been low that is five to twenty tones per hectare due to poor seeds quality low soil fertility and poor pest and disease control. Irish potatoes have been death with as a mind crop besides the difficulties in producing certified seeds by research, the are problems in pricing and distributions. However, the rate of adoption of the innovation by farmers is also very important as this affects performance of Irish potatoes in terms of yields and income. Adoption is the decision to make full use of an action available while innovation is an idea, practise at object that is perceived by an individual. It is a fact that farmers do not all accesses a new idea at the same time. This lead to gradual acceptance thus the interference that farmers differ in their willingness to accept a new idea. Thus, there is low productivity of Irish Potatoes in the area due to lack of research and training.

1.2 STAMENT OF THE PROBLEM Food insecurity had been a major threat among the Bureti residents who had been growing other crops such as maize, beans and peas. To curb this problem Irish potatoes whose potential is high had been planted in Bureti Districts which has good climatic conditions. Despite the roles played by extension officers to teach them, the production of Irish potatoes has been low. The reasons for the low production has not been known. The study therefore intends to determine the causes of this low production in Bureti District. 1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The study aims to know the cause of low productivity of Irish potatoes among the residents of Bureti District and to solve the problem. 1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The study was guided by the following objectives (i) (ii) (iii) To describe the influence of research training and access to market. To make use of agricultural practises so as to gain relevant skills To determine the level of adoption of Irish potatoes among the Bureti residents.

1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROJECT The study was significant because it was carried out to understand the causes as low productivity of Irish potatoes among farmers. The findings of this study were to benefit several groups of people. The Bureti community may benefit by being empowered to affectively exploit their environment and other resources thereby raising their economic status. The findings of the study also benefit the government agricultural extension services and other extension providers by identifying causes of low productivity of Irish potatoes. Farmers are empowered to diversified their economic base that is that of growing maize and beans farming to supplement their diet this way agricultural extension services may be able to formulate appropriate interest to assist the farmers to attain maximum production of Irish potatoes. Policy makers in the government may benefit as they may also use findings to formulate policies aimed at solving problems affecting Irish potatoes production thus contributing to overall food security. 2

Also policy makers will be convinced by the findings of the study to invest in infrastructure and other sectors infavour of production of Irish Potatoes. 1.6.PROJECT CONCEPT The project was done in Rift valley province, Bureti District the project was done with an aim of improving the productivity of Irish potatoes among Bureti residents it was mainly focusing on the institutional factors such the availability of inputs as well as the rate of adoption to bring about solution of the problem. The project demonstrated the use of various varieties on the Kaplong soils the trainee achieved the results hence be in a position to come up with the better variety sweating the Bureti soils thus improving their diet as well as improving the economic standards. 1.7 LIMITATIONS Pests and Disease Control For the good growth of Irish potatoes, pests and diseases should be controlled to improve the yield of Irish potatoes Unfavorable rainfall distribution Adequate rainfall is required during the growing period poor rainfall production will be less.



This chapter will entail the importance of Irish potatoes and how they can benefit the community and other communities and also causes of low productivity.


Irish potatoes is among the major food crops after the maize, beans sorghum and millet. Potatoes can be boiled, baked fried or made into chips or crips. They are also a source of industrial starch a number of small scale industries process potatoes in to snacks these Irish potatoes contribute economically, nutritionally and provide employment.

Attitude Potatoes grow best above 1500m and upto 3000m above sea level Rainfall For good growth rainfall of about 750mm is required during the growing period. Soils Irish potatoes require deep well drained fertile and easy working soils medium loam soils are best as heavy soils restrict tuber growth.


It is recommended to use certified seeds, which are well sprouted with 4-5 sprouts. Sprouts are out growth from the eyes of the tubers good sprouting of seed ensures uniform stand and early emergence hence maximum utilization of available moisture resulting to higher yields.


The seedbed should be prepared early to give time for the weeds to desiccate. Plough or dig the land thoroughly removing couch and kikuyu grasses and other weeds. The soil should be well broken to avoid large crumbs and to allow soil aeration. Potatoes should be planted in ridges to allow for tuber expansion and to make harvesting easier.

Ridges should be 75cm apart at the crest with the potatoes 25-30cm apart in the rows and 10cm deep. Place the seed tubers in the furrows with the sprouts facing up.

Potatoes Plant is a gross feeder of potash, Nitrogen and phosphate the tuber account for 60% to 90% of the nutrients removed hence these nutrients must be provided in adequate quantities at the right time if yields are to be maximized. Nitrogen increases yield through increased leaf area and leaf area duration. Phosphate promotes early development of the crop. Nitrogen and phosphate should be applied together during planting. The fertilizer is applied in furrows and mixed with the soil thoroughly to avoid contact with the seeds to avoid seed burning and rotting.

The crop matures after a period of 3-5 months depending on the variety. Highest yields can be obtained by leaving the potatoes in the ground till they mature hardening of the skin can be accelerated this can be done by allowing the crop to die back naturally potatoes are harvested and grading is done depending on the size.



Late blight (phytophtora infestans)

Water scaked spots leaflets or stems, later turning brown to black. On the underside of the leaf and produces, a white mould growth seen at the edge of the spots.

i)use resistant varieties ii)Use suitable fungicides when the crop is 10cm high, spraying both the surface underside of the leaves every 10-14days or weekly when wet.

Ear Early blight (Alternaria solane)

Sets in the late in the season when the crop is attaining maturity dark brown spots which enlarges. When wet which appear on the oldest leaves.

i) Plant resistant varieties ii) Spray with fungicides e.g Ridomil, dlthane M 45

Black scarf (Rhizoctonia, Scierotia solone) Symptoms

i) Black specks on mature tubers and base of stems ii) Derail tubers or many small tubers at ground level

i) Use certified seed ii) Use well decomposed manure iii) Early land preparation to ensure well decomposed manure iv) Crop rotation v) Dip seeds in aretan or Beniate solution before sprouting

Bacterial with (pseudomonas solana cearum )


i) Plants with even when the soil has enough moisture ii) White mass of bacteria cozes when the tuber is cut and squeezed iii) Brown rings around the vascular bundles

i) Practise crop rotation ii) Use certified seeds iii) Burn stems and tubers of infected plants.

Potato aphid (Autacorthum salane) Symptoms
Leaves cupped, distorted and more or less yellow, plant wilt and sometimes dies sooty mould on the upper side of the leaves

i) Practise good field husbandry ii) Crop rotation iii) Use systemic insecticides e.g. Metasytox.

Potato tuber moth (phthorimea operulella)

Appears shortly before harvesting when the rain rate subsided. The larvae feed on maturing tubers in the field by mining them. The damage continues during storage.

In the fields a) Plant deeply b) Ridge at least twice during the growing season In the stores a) Keep tubers in clean, cool stores 8

b) Spray tubers with the malathion,fenitrothion.

Cutworms (Agrotis ssp)

Caterpillars cut young plants at ground level.

Before planting apply 50kg 2.5% of aldrin dust per hectare working it into the top of the soil or spray the field with 3kg 40% aldrin per hectate.


This chapter provides the methodology for attaining the objectives of the study it describes the description of the research design, sampling procedure, instrumentation, data collection and analysis.


Below were the various materials used in the study of possible cause of low productivity of Irish potatoes in Bureti Division. Materials Tape measure/ruler Marking pegs Panga Tubers Jembe Fertilizer DAP CAN Organic Matures Chemicals Sprayers Labour Quantity 1 9 5 1 debe 1 4kg 2kg 6 debes 300ml DI-Methoate 1 1 Man


The project was carried out in four plots and each of the plots was measuring 1.75m x 1.75m.The spacing from one plot to another was 0.5m. The plots were as follows

B 10





0.5M KEY


A- Irish potatoes planted with control of Diseases and pests not controlled B- Irish potatoes planted without control of Pests A1-Irish potatoes planted with control of Pests and Diseases B1- Irish potatoes planted without control of Pests and Diseases 3.4 PLANTING Trainee first chitted and allowed them to sprout, Good sprouting of the seed tubers ensures uniform stand and early emergency hence maximum utilization of available moisture resulting into higher yields. Ridges were made 75cm apart at the crest with the potatoes 35-30cm apart in the rows and 10cm deep. The trainee placed the seed tubers. In the furrows with the sprouts facing up. The seed tubers were then covered with a thin layer of soil on top and dry grass on top as much. Ridges were made to allow for tuber expansion and make harvesting easier. It also reduces greening of the tuber that may occur if exposed to sunlight. The ridges were made as follows: Crest Ridges

The crest provided soil for earthing up which allows for tuber expansion.



The trainee carried this project with the aim of getting knowledge of possible causes of low productivity of Irish potatoes. The trainee was comparing the production when pests and diseases is controlled and when it is not controlled. Trainee obtained the data, analyzed and booked them in the record books for reference. The aim was to discover best ways of producing potatoes in the area.


The trainee was collecting the results as per the replicates each replicate was to be attended daily based on different parameters. Germination percentage, pest attack and growth rate were the parameters recorded on the daily report book. The samples were the planted seed tubers that the trainee termed as treatments a random sample of four-potato plant (treatment) was picked from each replicate using stratified random procedure .It was found that germination percentage was moderate due to pest infestation in some replicate. It was also found that the replicates that the agronomic practises were involved recorded high yields of quality Irish potatoes.


Instruments Note book Biro pens Tape measure Weighing balance Ruler Quantity 1 2 1 1 1



The trainee was attending the project on daily basis. She collected the data as per the parameters recorded. The notebook was used to record the data, Ruler was used to make columns for each for each parameter, Biro pens were used to write the observed information on the notebook, Tape measure was used to measure the growth length of the plants to determine the growth rate. The weight balance was used to weigh the yields for each replicate so as to know the production level for each replicate.


The trainee obtained the highest yield on potatoes that were planted and pests and diseases controlled. The yields were measured in kilograms by use of weighing scale. This was to get the total yields obtained from each replicate. The trainee determined the rate of growth by taking their measurement every week. The rate growth of potatoes planted with pests and diseases controlled was vigorous compared with those which the pest and disease were not control. The table below shows the results that were obtained by the trainee from the plots analysis: Replicate A B AI BI Treatment Tigoni Tigoni Tigoni Tigoni Height (cm) 30cm 40cm 65cm 25cm Vigour fairly good good excellence poor Yields (kg) 30kg 40kg 50kg 20kg


This chapter summarizes the project work that carried out by the trainee in Bureti Division. She came up with clear information that possible causes of low production of potato in Bureti Division is due to low rate of adoption among the farmers lack of knowledge and skill due to poor extension service.

In the research for high quality and quantity varieties by the research institutes, it is vital to consider the short term and long term effects of the environment. Lots of research in to biological control of pests and diseases is recommendable especially in this time when people are conscious, however that practicability for the farmers and their side effects need to be emphasized.

Going through all stages of production, The trainee concluded that Bureti Dovision has potential of high production of Irish potatoes. The area meets the requirements of Irish potato production. Irish potatoes production will be successful if the farmers adopt the production methods from the extension officers.


The table below shows the trainees budget

Potatoes Planting Jembe Weighing scale Panga Tape Measure Watering can Ruler Fertilizer DAP CAN Notebook Biro pens Ridomil Labour Total

1 1 1

Amount (Kshs)
70 50 150 250

1 1 1 1 2 kg 2 kg 1 2 2 litres 1

150 100 300 10 120 100 25 20 250 1500 3,095



DATE 14th March 2009 21 March 2009

ACTIVITY Site selection and clearing land cultivation Secondary cultivation so as to obtain the required tilth Removal of germinated weeds to avoid competing with the potatoes for food. Land leveling is done using rake so as to


To prevent the build up

of pests and diseases th can affect the crop. To allow for full decomposition

24th March 2009 4 April 2009 4th May 2009


remove the roots and plant debris in the soil Mixing the manure with the soil and the leveling of the bed. Making the ridges for planting the seed tubers. Seed tubers is planted and covered with a thin layer of soil Weeding of the crop plants

To prevent competition between potatoes and

15 May 2009


Control of pests and diseases was done with the use of appropriate chemicals

weeds for nutrients To control potato moth

and late blight to allow

for expansion of tubers 19 May 2009 15th June 2009 20th June 2009

Earthing up was done Harvesting of mature potatoes Compiling of report