KENYA – Trans Nzoia County has set up a multi-agency committee to take the mantle of enacting the irish potato regulations of 2019, in line with the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) statutory requirement.
Endebess Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Mwachaunga Chaunga with his Trans Nzoia West counterpart Charles Ocharo represented area County Commissioner, Samson Ojwang, who was away in Nakuru on official duties.
Ferdinand Masinde, AFA Deputy Director in charge of Compliance and Regulations, who presided over the event, outlined that the regulations would ensure registration of all stakeholders in the sector.
This will include the commodity’s growers, growers associations, dealers, collection centres, processors, warehouses, importers as well as exporters.
“Besides proper packaging and sale of irish potato, these regulations also stipulate establishment and enforcement of standards in irish potato handling to ensure health and proper trading,” pointed out Masinde, adding the AFA’s objective was to promote the best practices in the sub sector.
The county multi-agency committee will be chaired by the County Commissioner with members drawn from line departments from both national and county governments. These will among others include agriculture, trade, National Police Service and county law enforcement units.
“For effective management and implementation of the irish potato regulations, the same will be cascaded down to sub county levels where the Deputy County Commissioners will be in charge of the multi-agency committees,” stated Masinde.
To safeguard farmers and buyers against exploitation by cartels, the task forces will ensure strict adherence to marketing requirements.
“These committees are supposed to ensure growers or dealers offer irish potatoes for sale only in designated collection centres and stored in properly inspected and registered facilities,” said Masinde.
Irish potato growers and dealers are expected to use properly calibrated, serviced, inspected and approved by the ministry of trade, as reported by Kenya New Agency.
The committee will also oversee commodity transportation to avoid deterioration in quality in order to guarantee consumers value for their money.
“Potatoes for commercial purposes should be packaged and transported in clean intact food grade material, specifically synthetic fibre sacks, moulded plastic boxes or paper of plastic films,” outlined the AFA Deputy Director.
He informed that the maximum weight for each single unit packaged for trade must not exceed 50 kilogrammes.
Kenya is producing an estimated 1.6 metric tonnes of irish potatoes annually in the 16 counties where it is grown, out of which, 1.2 metric tonnes are consumed locally, enlightened Masinde.