Category Archives: Sweet Potato Yield in Kenya

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.



Sweet Potato Yield Per Acre in Kenya

One of the common questions that we get from potential sweet potato farmers in Kenya is the potential yield that they could get per acre. Here, we do a rough estimate of the potential yield per acre of sweet potatoes if you do everything right. This estimate has been based on average yield on produce in Homa Bay Kenya, where our farms are based but it could basically be applied everywhere.

Land Preparation

Cost of Tilling an Acre of Land: Ksh.3000

Retilling Cost: Ksh.2500

Cost of Preparing Mounds/Ridges for Planting Sweet Potatoes: Ksh.2500

Cost of Vines

To plant an acre of sweet potatoes you need anywhere from 15 to 20 bags of vines

Cost of a bag of vines: Ksh.1500

Cost of vines for an acre: Ksh.22,500 to Ksh.30,000

Cost of Planting

Cost of planting a line with sweet potato vines: Ksh.50

An acre will have anywhere from 80 to 110 lines depending on your spacing

Cost of planting an acre at Ksh.50 per line is Ksh.4000 to Ksh.5500

Cost of Weeding an Acre

A line costs Ksh.50

Cost of weeding an acre costs Ksh.4000 to Ksh.5500

Cost of Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

An acre of sweet potatoes should yield 10 90Kg bags of medium to large sized sweet potatoes on the lower side and 20 to 25 bags on the higher side. Additionally, you should be able to get at least 10 bags of small sized sweet potatoes which are still marketable.

The cost of removing the sweet potato tendrils just before harvesting is generally Ksh.1500 to Ksh.2000 per acre.

The cost of digging up sweet potatoes is Ksh.2500 to Ksh.3000n per acre

Cost of picking and bagging sweet potatoes is generally Ksh.100 to Ksh.200 per person. You will need 5 to 10 people for quick labour to pick and bag the sweet potatoes.

Cost of bags for bagging the sweet potatoes in the farm. You need about 50 bags. Each bag goes for Ksh.40. So total is Ksh.2000.

Cost of transporting from the farm to the roadside or the places where the sweet potatoes are to be washed before rebagged for the markets is roughly Ksh.1000 to Ksh.2000 depending on the means of transport.

Cost of washing your sweet potatoes is Ksh.50 per bag. For an acre, you will spend anywhere around Ksh.1000 to wash all the bags.

Cost of bagging the sweet potatoes is Ksh.50 per bag so you are going to spend about Ksh.1000 to Ksh.1500 to bag all your sweet potatoes.

Cost of loading sweet potatoes to canters is generally Ksh.50 per bag so you will spend roughly Ksh.1000 or slightly more to load all bags into canter.

Cost of transporting from Nyanza to Nairobi is Ksh.600 per bag. Cost of transporting 20 bags of sweet potatoes is Ksh.12,000. If you live close to Nairobi, the cost is reduced considerably.

Cost of unloading in Nairobi is Ksh.100 per bag so to unload 20 bags will cost you roughly Ksh.2000 or more.

Rates charged by Nairobi City Council is Ksh.200 per bag so you will spend roughly Ksh.4000 as rates for your sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Marketing

Market price for the medium to large sized sweet potatoes ranges anywhere from Ksh.6000 to Ksh.7500 for the 90kg bag depending on the season. So per acre cost revenues would be Ksh.120,000 to Ksh.150,000 for the large to medium sized sweet potatoes.

Market price for small sized sweet potatoes is Ksh.600 to Ksh.1000 per acre so revenues for 20 bags would be Ksh.12,000 to Ksh.20,000.

Total Revenues

Total revenues would be roughly Ksh.132,000 to Ksh.170,000

Total expenses would be roughly Ksh.70,000 to Ksh.78,000 from planting to harvest.

Profits per acre: Rough Ks.62,000 to Ksh.92,000

Depending on the season of harvest, the yield per acre and how you manage your costs, your profits per acre would be anywhere from Ksh.62,000 to Ksh.92,000.

Keep in mind that you could reduce your profit margins when you harvest your sweet potatoes at the “wrong” time when the market prices are low. During “wrong” times, the market prices can go as low as Ksh.4000. Before harvesting sweet potatoes, keep an eye on the market price. Sweet potatoes can remain fresh in the soils for an extended period of time so you can leave them there for a while if the market conditions are still not favourable.

How to Maximize Profits Per Acre When Planting Sweet Potatoes

There are plenty of ways to maximize profits from your sweet potato farm right from the onset of your planting. You could do that in the following ways:-

  • Prepare land early and plant at the onset of rains so that you can harvest when prices are at their peak.
  • Secure good sweet potato vines from a reliable supply that will supply you with healthy stems.
  • Negotiate good rates for sweet potato vines. Currently, we sell our sweet potato vines for Ksh.1500 per bag but for bulk orders, we can offer farmers some discount.
  • Weed your sweet potatoes in time after two and a half months.
  • Negotiate cost of labour at various stages so as to cut down on costs
  • Secure cheap transportation to the markets especially from canters that are returning empty to Nairobi.
  • Pout more acreage of land under sweet potatoes if you can afford it. If you can make Ksh.92,000 per acre within five and a half to six months, you can make as much as Ksh.500,000 within the same period if you put 5 acres under cultivation or Ksh.1,000,000 if put 10 acres of sweet potatoes under cultivation.

Need assistance with your planting, give us a call today.

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.