Hybrid True Potato Seed Trials in Kenya - RegenZ

True Potato Seed Trials Revolutionising Potato Farming in Kenya

Despite being the second most important staple food crop in Kenya, potato farming in Kenya has long been fraught with challenges, from disease susceptibility to yield unpredictability. Pioneered by Solynta, a Dutch-based potato breeding technology company, True Potato Seed (TPS) trials have the power to transform the agricultural landscape, empowering smallholder farmers and enhancing food security across the country.

A paradigm shift in potato cultivation

Traditional potato farming in Kenya has largely relied on tubers, which are prone to diseases and rotting, leading to diminished yields and economic losses for farmers. Kenya’s potato sector has long grappled with challenges in accessing clean planting materials, with the majority of seeds coming from uncertified informal sources. 

Solynta’s TPS technology offers a solution to this issue by providing certified, disease-free seeds, empowering farmers to take control of their planting materials and boosting production.

Unlike traditional tubers, these seeds enable farmers to accurately predict yields and ensure a continuous supply of clean planting materials throughout the year. 

Since its introduction in 2020, Solynta’s TPS seeds have undergone rigorous field trials in key potato farming regions of Kenya, including central and Rift Valley. The feedback from outgrowers has been overwhelmingly positive, with farmers expressing relief at the prospect of moving away from bulky, perishable tubers to healthier, more resilient seedlings. By partnering with local growers, seed producers, associations, and regulators, Solynta is driving agricultural innovation from the ground up, ensuring practical benefits for farmers across the country.

Leading the charge in Solynta’s portfolio are the Solhy 016 and 017 varieties, which have demonstrated exceptional resistance to Late Blight, a common scourge of potato crops. These varieties boast yields of up to 20 tubers per plant, offering a promising solution to the country’s food security challenges. 

Numerous Kenyan partners, including smallholder farms and cooperatives, have successfully completed their initial potato harvests and are now preparing for subsequent ones. The yields they’ve achieved are notable, surpassing the typical seasonal average. In comparison, non-Solynta seed farmers experienced lower yields, largely due to late blight. Solynta’s potatoes, however, have demonstrated robust health, offering a promising solution for Kenyan growers seeking sustainable and dependable results.

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Promoting sustainable farming practices through hybrid true potato trials

Climate change poses a significant threat to agriculture, particularly in regions like Kenya, where smallholder farmers rely heavily on rain-fed farming. Solynta’s TPS varieties offer resilience against unpredictable weather patterns, providing farmers with a lifeline in the face of climate uncertainty.

Another significant advantage of Solynta’s TPS technology is its promotion of sustainable farming practices. By requiring only 36,000 to 38,000 seeds per acre and yielding up to 25 tonnes in just 100-110 days without the need for chemical interventions, Solynta’s seeds are championing a new era of environmentally-friendly agriculture.

In addition: 


      • Farmers only need 25 grams of clean and disease-free true potato seeds to start a potato crop (compared to the 2500 kgs of perishable seed tubers previously required).

      • Non-GMO hybrid breeding

      • TPS feature beneficial natural traits like disease resistance and are more robust against the impact of climate change

    The future of potato farming looks promising

    Joost van Regteren, CCO of Solynta says: “We are still dedicated to make a positive contribution to potato growers and to world food security. With our new robust hybrid potato varieties, we will help create a more sustainable potato value chain. These varieties can naturally withstand diseases, pests and the consequences of climate change. Delivering these varieties in the form of true potato seeds, we provide clean and disease-free sustainable starting material for potato growers around the world.”

    Solynta’s True Potato Seed Trials in Kenya represent a game-changer for the country’s agricultural sector. By harnessing the power of innovative technology, Solynta is empowering smallholder farmers, enhancing yields, and promoting sustainable farming practices. As Kenya strives towards achieving food security and agricultural sustainability, Solynta’s TPS technology stands at the forefront of this transformative journey, offering hope and opportunity to farmers across the country. With a commitment to sustainability, innovation, and collaboration, Solynta is poised to make a significant impact on food security and agricultural development in Kenya and beyond.

    RegenZ, in collaboration with Solynta, is trialling several true potato seed varieties in South African growing conditions. The best-performing varieties will become commercially available in the near future. Learn more about TPS in South Africa. 

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    About the Author: Alex Platt

    Alex is Business Development Manager at RegenZ. He's inspired by the potential of regenerative farming and takes a special interest in the technology and products that are moving agriculture in a more sustainable direction.