• The country is reeling from an acute shortage of Irish potatoes which the Agriculture ministry puts the supply gap at 1.7 million metric tonnes.
  • The deficit has pushed up the price of the commodity by at least 25 per cent as hotels and households turn to imports to supplement the shortage.
  • French fries is a popular delicacy in the country with a plateful of chips, as they are commonly referred to retailing at Sh100 ($1) in most eateries in the city.

Kenyans may soon be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to afford a plate of French fries.

This is because the country is reeling from an acute shortage of Irish potatoes which the Agriculture ministry puts the supply gap at 1.7 million metric tonnes.

The deficit has pushed up the price of the commodity by at least 25 per cent as hotels and households turn to imports to supplement the shortage.

Irish potatoes in Kenya

French fries is a popular delicacy in the country with a plateful of chips, as they are commonly referred to retailing at Sh100 ($1) in most eateries in the city.

However, as the Irish potatoes shortage continue to bite some eateries may be forced to hike prices to as high as Sh120 – Sh150 while others may opt to reduce quantities served per plate.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has blamed poor seeds for the shortage and urged farmers to use certified seeds to increase yields.

“In the next one year, we are going to meet the deficit by ensuring that farmers use certified seed. To date, the total production of seeds is at 6,700 metric tonnes short of the 30,000 metric tonnes required,” he said.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri

Mr Kiunjuri said that with improved seeds farmers will be able to harvest 10 metric tonnes equivalent to 88 bags of potatoes per hectare.

The Agriculture secretary said that farmers will also be able to generate seeds from their harvest for another three generations, saving them the cost of new seeds.

Mr Kiunjuri added that potatoes lack a standard measure, something his ministry is determined to change and that Parliament is set to regulate the measure in kilogrammes. Currently, potatoes are sold in extended sacks.

The point of focus is on potato regulation, there are a number of things that are not okay and this has led to the exploitation of farmers by brokers,” he said.