Category Archives: Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya

How to Grow Bigger Sweet Potatoes in Kenya

Large sweet potatoes being sold by the roadside in Western Kenya
Large sweet potatoes being sold by the roadside in Western Kenya

Sweet potatoes are fairly easy to grow but very few Kenyan farmers realize the full potential of their sweet potato crop. This usually happens when the sweet potatoes are smaller in size and hence fetch a lower price in the market. Larger and bigger sweet potatoes always mean more money in your pockets. Here are some tips on how to make sure that your sweet potatoes are bigger:-

Dig deeper

There is a reason why we emphasized land preparation and mound preparation as some of the most important steps when it comes to sweet potato farming in Kenya. And when it comes to land preparation, it is always advisable to dig deeper into the soil so as to promote the growth of larger-sized sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes love loose and un-compacted soil where they can grow to very good sizes. It is also easier to harvest your sweet potatoes from a loose and un-compacted soils than from hardened soils. Deep, loose and un-compacted soils will add extra spaces in the soil for the sweet potato root tuber development. When prepping land, bury the organic matter into the soils so as to loosen up the soil. However, weeds are not supposed to be buried in the soil as they are likely to sprout when it begins to rain. Instead, collect the weeds and burn them up.

Plant at the right time

Sweet potatoes love mild rains and hotter temperatures so don’t be too eager to plant your sweet potatoes that you plant them even before the onset of rains or during very cold weather. In Kenya, the weather is mostly favourable throughout the year in the areas conducive for sweet potato growing.

Plant at the onset rains

If you plant your sweet potatoes during the dry seasons, they are either all going to wither off or if they survive, they will produce small sized and fewer sweet potatoes and you will have wasted a season. Sweet potatoes require sunshine and moist soils so it is always advisable to plant at the onset of rains.

The most important period in the life of sweet potatoes is the first two weeks. This is the period when they need to be well watered in order to sprout well.

Keeping your sweet potato vines in check

The sweet potato varieties grown in Kenya including the yellow fleshed sweet potatoes, the orange fleshed sweet potatoes and even the white skinned-white fleshed sweet potato varieties are vining types. They spread their vines around laterally. If the conditions are right such as fertile soils and plenty of rainfall, the tendril growth can be quite vigorous. While this can be a good thing initially, excessive vining will actually impede your yield. The excess stems and leaves can actually be a burden; eating too much space, impeding sunshine for other sweet potato plants and depleting the minerals in the soil. At some point, it is advisable to prune off some of the excess vining. These can be used as compost or replanted elsewhere. Ideally, allow for tendril growth for up to three feet within the mother sweet potato plant to prevent excessive vining from preventing the formation of large sweet potatoes. Keeping the vines well pruned will also make harvesting your sweet potato crop in Kenya a lot easier.

 

How to Achieve Success with Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya

Success is not always assured for many poultry farmers in Kenya. There are many reasons for this. Some enter into the venture without good knowledge of the right varieties to plant, the best time to plant or the local market conditions. There are some farmers who venture into sweet potato farming in Kenya without even knowing how to do the actual planting in itself. While it is good to take risks, blind risks can be costly. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are planning to venture into sweet potato production in Kenya:-

Know the Right Varieties of Sweet Potato to Plant

There are three main types of sweet potatoes that are consumed in Kenya. These include the yellow fleshed and purple skinned sweet potato varieties, the white fleshed and white skinned sweet potato varieties and the orange fleshed sweet potato varieties. There is a small niche market for the white skinned and white fleshed variety of sweet potatoes. However, the one that is most consumed by the populace and which is also the most commercially viable is the yellow fleshed and purple skinned sweet potato variety shown below. Increasingly, the orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) variety is also gaining popularity. But if you are planning to grow your sweet potatoes for money, go for the yellow fleshed variety which is easily sold locally.

Yellow Fleshed Sweet Potatoes in Kenya
Yellow Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

Procure Quality Sweet Potato Vines

The quality of vines that you plant can make a huge difference. Poor quality vines are going to lead to poor quality yields and subsequently, losses in your sweet potato venture. Choose sweet potato vines that are young and clean. Ideally, you should plant sweet potato vines that are two months old as these tend to be quite vigorous, clean, pest-free, wilt-free and disease free. They will therefore lead to bumper harvest.

Sweet Potato Vines in Kenya
Sweet Potato Vines in Kenya

Prepare land and mounds well

Land preparation will make a huge a difference in your success as a sweet potato farmer. As we have stated in previous posts, land should be prepared in advance before the onset of the rains to allow the weeds to dry and rot out during the dry seasons. However, the mounds should be prepared on the day of the planting or at least a few days before planting to allow for easy insertion of vines deep into the soil.

Sweet Potato Mounds
Sweet Potato Mounds

Planting the right way

When planting sweet potatoes, make sure that you space them correctly and that the vines are inserted deep into the mounds. The mounds should also be deep enough. Wrong planting techniques often lead to lower yields from your sweet potato farm.

Planting sweet potatoes in Kenya
Planting sweet potatoes in Kenya

Weeding on time

Weeds can significantly reduce the yields of your sweet potato harvest. It is, therefore, advisable to weed your sweet potatoes early on before they take root in the soil. Do it at 6-8 weeks and continue doing in case they re-emerge in the subsequent weeks.

Planting at the right time

If you plant early enough when other farmers are not planting, you will harvest your sweet potatoes when there is less supply in the market and you can therefore fetch very good market prices for a bag of sweet potatoes. Ideally, do it from October to December if there are good rains. But you can always plant your sweet potatoes at any time of the year as long as there are good rains.

Planted sweet potato vines after a few weeks
Planted sweet potato vines after a few weeks

Know your market

The main market for sweet potatoes in Kenya is in Nairobi and it is important to be in tune with the prevailing market prices so that you can harvest when the prices are higher. Price per 100Kg to 110Kg of sweet potatoes will generally vary from Ksh.5000 when there is a supply glut to Ksh.9000 when there is less supply.

Sweet Potato Harvested in Kenya
Sweet Potato Harvested in Kenya

Manage your costs

Managing sweet potato planting costs will generally lead to greater profitability in your sweet potato farming venture. Some of the costs that you should manage include land preparation costs, sweet potato vines procurement costs, planting and harvesting costs.

Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya: How to Increase Your Yield Per Acre

Sweet Potato Yield in Kenya
Sweet Potato Yield in Kenya

One of the advantages of sweet potato farming in Kenya is there is very little input required on your side and you are always guaranteed a harvest as long as the conditions are right. You don’t have to worry about spending heavily on buying fertilisers or pesticides.

However, not all farmers hit the potential. Remember that when you hit your potential when it comes to sweet potato production, the payout can be HUGE.  The spoiler for most Kenyan farmers is venturing out into sweet potato production without sufficient information or experience in growing sweet potatoes. Small mistakes can be incredibly costly for you and you will see yourself losing a lot of money in the process.

When you deploy the best techniques and advice when it comes to sweet potato farming, your sweet potato yield per plant and per acre will increase considerably. Here are some good ways in which you can boost your sweet potato yield per acre in Kenya and plant your way to profitability:-

  • Planting sweet potatoes on land where no sweet potatoes or root tubers have not been planted before or in a very long time: Multiple successive cycles of sweet potato crops are going to deplete the fertility of the soil and this will affect the yield of your sweet potato crop severely. You can plant sweet potatoes once per year and then rotate it with other crops such as maize, groundnuts etc.
  • Do the land preparation during the dry seasons and let it settle: This will give time for most of the weeds to dry up and form organic matter on the land before the onset of the rains.
  • Prepare the ridges or mounds for planting sweet potatoes just a few days before you begin your planting. When you prepare the mounds much earlier, the soil hardens and it is difficult for planters to penetrate deep into the soil and plant the vine or sweet potato stems. When the mounds are inserted deep into the soil, the sweet potato tubers will be formed deep in the soil without exposure to the sunlight, passing thieves, domestic animals or rodents. Long exposure of sweet potato tubers to sunlight will damage the crop and often leads to rot.
  • Buy good quality vines: It is often advisable to secure the best quality sweet potato vines for planting from a reliable sweet potato supplier. The best sweet potato vines are those stems that are still young and vigorous. These are generally the vines that have been picked two to three months after planting.
  • Ensure the sweet potato vines for replanting are free of pests and diseases: Good quality suppliers like us can assure you of clean and fresh vines for replanting that are free of diseases and pests due to our quality multiplication process.
  • Planting the sweet potato vines just at the onset of rains: The advantage with this is that it allows for a very vigorous growth of the sweet potato vines and the formation lush foliage and tendrils. This will not only lead to a massive sweet potato yield plant but also larger sized sweet potatoes that increase your yield per acre.
  • Weed your sweet potato plants after two months: Sweet potato plants are most vulnerable to the effect of weeds in the first two to two and a half months. After that, the massive foliage and tendrils will largely inhibit the weed growth. So it is advisable to carry out prompt and comprehensive weeding after 6 to 8 weeks. However, if there is still vigorous weed growth after the two month period, make sure that you get rid of them.
  • Replant stunted or dried out vines: About two weeks or a month after planting, inspect your mounds or ridges for any signs of stunted or dried out vines and replant them with fresh and healthy vines.

 

 

Supplying Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potato Vines in Kenya

Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya
Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya

Sweet potatoes are snacks in hotels across Kenya as an accompaniment for tea breaks and breakfast. It is also a main meal in thousands of households. Consumers have also made considerable progress in moving to the consumption of high nutrient content and beneficial foods hitherto ignored like the sweet potatoes. It has also become as source food in food insecure areas where maize supplies are insufficient throughout the year. Among the many benefits of the sweet potato are:

  • It is a rich source of Vitamin A, an active immune system enhancer, ideal for proper eye and skin development, cell growth among a host of other benefits.
  • It is very ideal diabetics who use it as an alternative food to bread or cane sugar.
  • When added value, it used in the making of jams,chapattis, mandazis and commercial soaps.
  • It can be blended with spices and herbs and some added flavoring to be able to produce a variety of dishes that enhance our nutritional needs.
  • Research has shown that sweet potatoes has the nutritional content to boost the immune system and may be very ideal for immune-compromised individuals like AIDS patients, it strengthens bones, has been proved to help in the healing of heart disease and aid in the prevention of cancer and posses desirable antioxidant qualities.
  • Compared to most vegetables it has good fibre content, some complex carbohydrates, potassium, iron and Vitamin A and C.
  • It is a staple food that can effectively be used to fight hunger and malnutrition in settings of poverty and as an additional meal on the tables of several households.

This is the dream we supply to households, hotels and restaurants, children homes and homes for the aged, food manufacturers like bakeries and confectioneries, hospitals and areas where the supply of other staple food is in short supply across the year.

We supply Farm Fresh Orange fleshed and yellow fleshed sweet potatoes for direct consumption and for Value Addition across Kenya. We also sell potato vines to farmers who have the desire to venture into potato farming.

Finally we offer technical support in the sweet potato value chain particularly to farmers venturing to farming for the very first time and the necessary linkages.

We produce, sort and transport your sweet potato orders to agreed destinations across Kenya. This is packaged in 110kg sacks. For your sweet potato orders you can reach us on the number below:

Jael  0726689806

Commercial Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya

Commercial Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya
Commercial Sweet Potato Farming in Kenya

Can you grow sweet potatoes commercially in Kenya? The answer is yes and we have done it for decades. Sweet potato consumption has increased considerably in the country in the past decades with the main sweet potato market in Nairobi absorbing close to 90% of the sweet potato grown commercially in the country. Other major, albeit much smaller, markets for sweet potato are Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho and Nakuru. There is also a growing uptake of sweet potatoes in Mombasa although for many farmers upcountry, especially from Western Kenya, the transportation costs can be prohibitive.

The size of the market alone makes sweet potato farming in Kenya a commercially viable venture. To grow it on a commercial scale, you will have to put more acreage under farming and plant at the right time. You have to weed and harvest at the right time so as to make the most of your venture. A 10 acre land should yield over 200 bags of sweet potatoes and at market prices ranging from Ksh.5000 to Ksh.7500, that easily adds up to Ksh.1 million to Ksh.1.5 million minimum revenues within a period of only 5 months.

There are certain things to keep in mind when planning to grow your sweet potato commercially. These include the following:-

  • Put more acreage under cultivation
  • Prepare land early just before the onset of the rains
  • Ensure you have prepared the sweet potato mounds correctly and that they are deep enough so as to allow for full development of the root tubers.
  • Plant in time just at the onset of rains
  • Secure the best quality and disease free sweet potato vines
  • Weed your sweet potatoes in time
  • Harvest in time
  • Prepare prompt transportation from your farm to the market in Nairobi

If you are planning to put more land under cultivation, we advise that you prepare yourself financially as there are various costs involved before your crop will be ready for harvesting and marketing.

Facts About Kenya Sweet Potato Vines in Kenya

Planning to order your sweet potato vines from us? Here are some useful facts about our vines:

  • WE are currently the LARGEST sweet potato vines suppliers in Kenya. Our customers include individual farmers, institutions, international NGOs operating in Kenya and businesses.
  • We supply both yellow fleshed and orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) in Kenya.
  • None of our sweet potato vines are genetically modified or are GMOs. We sell 100% organic and natural sweet potatoes. We generally grow our sweet potatoes under 100% organic conditions without fertilizers or chemicals. The sweet potato produce from our vines are generally large to medium sized with an elliptical shape that can be easily packed in bags for sale or transportation.
  • One of the most important aspects of our varieties is that you can plant them easily without the need for fertilizers or pesticides although we suggest a crop rotation after at least one to two planting seasons. We supply clean and healthy vines that do not contain any pests and diseases from both our sweet potato farms and sweet potato multiplication centres. They just need good soils and rainfall and will do well even without fertilizers.
  • After you place an order for sweet potatoes from our farms, we will deliver within three days. If you order less than 20 bags, we can deliver within 24 to 48 hours.
  • We supply the strongest and healthiest vine stems for replanting. You can keep them for several days or even weeks before planting them.
  • We sell both the orange fleshed and yellow fleshed sweet potato vines. While the orange fleshed is a new variety, the yellow fleshed variety has been around for decades and is currently the more commercially viable variety locally. For exports, the orange fleshed sweet potato should do well. Prices for the yellow fleshed sweet potatoes generally vary from Ksh.3500 to Ksh.7000 per 90Kg bag depending on the harvesting season.
  • One bag of sweet potato vines that we sell typically contains anywhere from 1200 to 1500 vines and is sufficient to plant several lines in your farm based on the width of your farm.
  • Currently, the yellow fleshed sweet potato vines goes for Ksh.1500 per bag.
  • Want to make orders for sweet potato vines in Kenya? Call 0725772524 or 0726689806.