Project Objective

The East African Potato Consortium, co-chaired by Grow Africa and AGRA, aims to establish a robust potato value chain in East Africa, focusing on opportunities for value addition.

Potato production in the East African Community has grown by 340% over the past 20 years, and average potato consumption has increased at a similar pace, growing by approximately 300% in the same period. Despite this growth in production and consumption, potato farmers have failed to benefit, with farm-gate prices remaining very low at US$0.15/kg, largely due to highly fragmented supply chains. Productivity per hectare also remains low in the region, largely due to lack of quality inputs – particularly certified seed - requiring potato farmers to often plant up to three crops in the same year. Further challenges are presented by a lack of storage infrastructure, leading to significant post-harvest losses, exceeding 33% of production.

The current weaknesses in the value chain, combined with the rapidly increasing demand for potato and processed potato products, presents an opportunity to more than double farmer incomes in parts of the region, while strengthening the value chain. For example, investment of US$400 in quality seeds per hectare can result in an increase of over 300% in farmers’ profits.

Realising this opportunity requires a coordinated approach to develop the value chain in an integrated manner. For this reason, Grow Africa has worked with the potato platform launched in Kenya in 2015 to support its evolution into a regional potato consortium, in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA). The consortium features participation by companies across the value chain and farmer representatives, and is focusing its efforts on addressing bottlenecks in key areas – particularly inputs access and storage infrastructure - to help unlock investment. By helping to formalize value chains, Grow Africa and its consortium partners hope to also help enable access to finance for farmers and processors.  The Consortium has commissioned two market studies – one on the overall market opportunity for value-addition in potato (LINK) and the second, commissioned with UPL, on specific investment pipelines, with a view to securing investment funding.

The Consortium focuses on overcoming constraints in three areas:

  • Seed and inputs
  • Infrastructure
  • Processing

The platform is open to members from:

  • Farmers through umbrella bodies
  • Processing companies
  • Buyers
  • Input suppliers
  • Financial institutions
  • NGOs and donors

Contacts

Valentine Miheso

Countries

Resources

This study, commissioned by AGRA, Grow Africa and UPL, looks at the market opportunity for scaling the potato value chain in East Africa.

The Grow Africa Secretariat has teamed up with AGRA and National Potato Council of Kenya to kick-start a working group.

Updates

The East Africa Potato Consortium, formed in 2016 through a partnership between Grow Africa and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Af