06-11-2020 di redazione
Climate change, the difficulty of having two maize harvests a year and problems with pest control products are convincing many farmers to focus on the tuber, which can also be processed into flour.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), in collaboration with the International Potato Center, has highlighted five promising varieties of sweet potatoes and passed on the know-how about Kenya's smallholder farmers.
Sweet potatoes are fairly easy to grow, so some farmers have already realized the full potential of their sweet potato crop.
Sweet potatoes also have a growth period of three to six months, so an average of three harvests per year.
The temperature and rainfall of the African country seems ideal: sweet potatoes are in fact adaptable to different agro-ecological zones ranging from 0 to 2100m above sea level and are occasionally found at altitudes of about 2400m. They thrive at temperatures above 24°C in plenty of sunshine. They require rainfall of 750-1000mm per year.
Will families be able to accept the change from maize polenta, which together with the companatico forms the national dish, the ugali, to that of sweet potato flour?
For now, the bulk of the market is for export, but the Kenyans are beginning to come to terms with the sale and revenue from this new product.
When the sweet potatoes are smaller they have a lower price on the market, but growing them will put more money into farmers' pockets. The crop is rich in vitamin A, and is very healthy, it starts to be eaten as breakfast by most urban and rural families instead of the classic white flour porridge.
There are already those who market the mashed porridge, as well as using it for chips.
In short, the turning point in Kenya, not only in the fields but also in the kitchen, seems to be sweet.
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