Which are the best potato varieties in Kenya?

different-color-potatoes-leaves-flowers

Are you looking for the best potato variety in Kenya? To get highest yields and income from growing Irish potatoes at the lowest cost, you need to plant high quality seeds. To help in your potato seed selection, this guide will give you each variety’s yield potential, dry matter content, tuber dormancy and its best altitude in meters above seal lever (MASL)

Irish potato is the second staple crop in Kenya after maize. Their popularity, demand and profits continue to rise each year. According to the KEPHIS national potatoes varieties list, there are 56 registered varieties. The most popular ones include shangi, Dutch Robijn, Nyayo and Markies among others. The chart below compares these potatoes types given the above features..

Read Next: How to make money producing Potato Seeds in Kenya

How to choose the best potato seed?

This simplified guide gives you the top factors to consider when choosing the best potato varieties for the highest yields and income;

  • Climatic conditions of your region. Some potato varieties thrive in cooler highland areas, while others are more suitable for warmer lowland regions. Understanding the specific temperature and rainfall requirements of different potato varieties is essential for successful cultivation. to choose this consider the Altitude range in meters above sea level for each seed
  • The intended use of the potatoes. Some potato varieties are ideal for boiling, roasting, or making chips, or processing into flour or crisps. Grow a variety with a high market demand and your specific target market will greatly influence your profitability. The tuber skin and flesh color may also be a consideration in this.
  • Resistance to diseases and pests Certain potato varieties have higher resistance to common diseases such as late blight, bacterial wilt, or potato cyst nematodes. By choosing resistant varieties, farmers can minimize the need for chemical interventions and increase the chances of a healthy crop.
  • Maturity period choose a potato variety with a short number of days it takes to mature from planting. it will give back your investments in a shorter time
  • Potential yield per acre; Whether you are growing potato for food or sale, choose a potato with higher yields per ton/ha or ton/acre.
  • Tuber dormancy; If you want to store tubers over an extended period, choose a variety with a longer tuber dormancy, It will ensure you have a fresh supply throughout the year.

Best potato varieties in Kenya

VarietyAltitude (masl)Maturity PeriodYields PotentialDry MatterTuber Dormancy
Acoustic1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or 16.19 t/acre18.00%1-2 Months
Annet1300-2000≤ 3 months30-35 t/ha or 12.14-14.16 t/acreINA>2 Months
Arizona1300-20003months>40 t/ha or >16.19t/acre16.80%1-2 Months
Arnova1300-30003 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre18.20%1-2 Months
Asante≥ 23003-4months35-45 t/ha or 14.16-18.23 t/acre21.30%2-3.5 months
Carolus1300-30003.5 months40 t/ha or 16.19 t/acre21.60%INA
Caruso1300-30003-4 months25-35 t/ha or 10.12-14.16 t/acre25.50%1-2 Months
Challenger1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre22.00%1-2 Months
Chulu1500-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre24.00%2.5-3 Months
Connect1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreINA2 Months
Derby1300-3000≤ 3 Months40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.20%<1 Month
Desiree1800-26002.5 -3.5 months35-40 t/ha or 14.16-16.19 t/acre21.00%1-2 Months
Destiny1500-30003 months30 – 40 t/ha or 12.14-16.19 t/acre24.00%1-2 Months
Dutch Robijn1800-26003-4 months≤ 30 t/ha or ≤ 12.14 t/acre21.60%3.5-4.5 months
El-Mundo1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre18.00%>2 Months
Evora1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.>2 Months
Faluka1300-30003 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre18.10%>2 Months
Farida1300-30003-4 months55 t/ha or 22.27 t/acreI.N.A.2-2 months
Jelly1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.00%1-2 Months
Kenya Baraka1600-27003 months30 – 40 t/ha or 12.14-16.19 t/acre21.50%3.5-4.5 months
Kenya Karibu1800-28003-4 months30-35 t/ha or 12.14-14.16 t/acre21.40%3.5 months
Kenya Mavuno1800-2800>4 months30 – 40 t/ha or 12.14-16.19 t/acre21.20%2.5-3 Months
Kenya Mpya1400-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or 14.16-18.21 t/acre23.00%2.5-3 Months
Kenya Sifa1800-28003-4 months<30 t/ha or <12.14 t /acre21.30%4-4.5 months
Kerr’s Pink1400-2700≤ 3 Months<30 t/ha or <12.14 t /acre20.00%2-3 Months
Konjo1600-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre19.00%2.5-3 Months
Kuroda1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre23.00%>2 Months
Lady Amarilla1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.>2 Months
Lady Terra1400-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.>2 Months
Laura1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.>2 Months
Lenana1500-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre22.00%2-3 Months
Manitou1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre19.30%>4 months
Markies1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre23.00%>2 Months
Mayan Gold1300-30003-4 months<30 t/ha or <12.14 t /acreI.N.A.2 months
Milva1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.>2 Months
Musica1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre19.00%<1 Month
Nyota1500-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre20.00%2.5-3 Months
Panamera1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre20.80%1-2 Months
Purple Gold1800-30003-4 months<30 t/ha or <12.14 t /acreI.N.A.4-4.5 months
Rodeo1800-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre22.00%1-2 Months
Rock1400-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre20.00%>2 Months
Royal1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acreI.N.A.1-2 Months
Rumba1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre20.90%>2 Months
Rudolph1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre20.50%>2 Months
Sagitta1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.70%1-2 Months
Sarpo Mira1300-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre22.50%1-2 Months
Shangi≥1500≤3 Months30-40 t/ha or 12.14-16.19 t/acre21.40%<1 Month
Sherekea1800-30003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.30%4-4.5 months
Sifra1800-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre19.10%1-2 Months
Taurus1300-30003-4 months30-40 t/ha or 12.14-16.19 t/acre24.00%>2 Months
Tigoni1800-26003-4 months35-45 t/ha or 14.16-18.21 t/acre21.40%2-3 Months
Unica1400-35002.5 -3.5 months>45 t/ha or >18 t/acre21.00%2.5-3.5 Months
Voyager1300-3000>4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.10%>2 Months
Wanjiku1500-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre21.00%>3 Months
Zafira1500-35003-4 months>40 t/ha or >16.19 t/acre17.90%1-2 Months
Zarina1300-3000<3-4 Months50 t/ha or 20.24 t/acreI.N.A.<1 Month

Below are features of select potato varieties in Kenya

Tigoni

Tigoni potato variety can yield 14,000-18,000 kg per acre. It grows best at altitudes of 1800-2600 meters above sea level (ASL). It matures in 3-4 months from planting. Tigoni has a high dry content matter. It is the best variety to make chips, mashing, boiling, baking and roasting. KALRO (formerly KARI) released it in the market in 1998. Its tubers are long, oval with white-smooth skin. It has white flowers with tall upright stems.

Shangi

Shangi potato variety can yield 30,000-40,000 kg per acre in Kenya. It matures in 3-4 months. It grows best in 1500-2800 meters ASL. Its stems can grow very tall to one meter. It has broad leaves that are light. The tubers are white flesh, oval with medium to deep eyes with pink pigments. Shangi potatoes are good for mashing, boiling, roasting and making chips. The variety is moderately susceptible to late blight.

Asante       

The Asante potato variety yields 14,000-18,000 kg per acre. It matures in 3-4 months from planting. Its tubers are round with smooth pink skin. Its optimal growing region is areas between 1,800-2,600 meters ASL. The stems are medium, and its tubers have a high dry matter content. It is best for making chips, mashing, roasting and baking. This seed is tolerant of late blight disease.

Kenya Mpya

Kenya mpya stems are tall, rising to about 1 meter. It has white flowers, and the tubers are cream whiter with shallow pink eyes. They are large and can be oval or round. The variety is fast growing maturing in 3-3.5 months. Under proper agronomic care, it can yield 14,000 to 18,000 kilograms of iris potato per acre. It has good storability value.  Best used for boiling, roasting, mashing or making chips.

Sherekea

potato varieties in Kenya

This variety was by KALRO in 2010. It does best in optimal production of 1,800-3,000 meters ASL. It is a medium-sized plant that matures in 3-4 months. The stems are medium with light purple flowers. Its tubers are oblong or round with red skin. It has the most tubers per plant and can yield 16,000-20,000 kg per acre. The sherekea potato variety is best for boiling, roasting, mashing or processing to make chips and crisps. This variety can withstand late blight and potato viral diseases.

Purple gold

The purple gold variety was by KALRO in 2010. It can yield 10,000-14,000 kg of potato per acre. Its tubers are round with dark purple skin with white flesh eyes. Purple gold has medium stems, and its flowers are purple. The seed is tolerant to greening and most soil-borne and late blight diseases. It is best for mashing, boiling, roasting and making chips.

Kerr’s Pink

Also known as the mew pink. It is an early maturing type, taking only 2-3 months to harvest. The variety can yield 10,000-12,000 kg per acre under proper care. The stems grow tall, and it has white flowers. Its tubers are oval with red skin. It is tolerant to dry weather.

Dutch Robijn

Dutch robin variety can yield 14,000-16,000 kg of potatoes per acre. Its stems are medium with medium stems. Its flowers are white, and the tubers are well-rounded with red skin. The seed has a long dormancy, making it one of the best varieties to store for long periods.

Where to buy certified potato seeds in Kenya?

Planting clean and quality potato seeds is a must if you want higher farm profits and yields. Research and development is the mandate of the KARLO horticulture research institute at Tigoni. Breeding and distribution work is done by various public and private propagators like ADC. If you are looking to buy quality shangi, Dutch Robijn or other potato seeds (tubers with sprouts), or young seedlings ready for transplanting, look from the following firms: –

Potato SupplierCountry/CountyVarieties Stocked
ADC-MoloNakuruShangi, Sherekea, Dutch Robijn, Kenya Karibu, Kenya Mpya, Bvumbwe, Asante, Desiree, Kenya Mavuno, Rolin Tana, Kenya Sifa, Tigoni,
Aberdare Technology LimitedMurangaShangi, Dutch Robijn, Unica, Asante, Kenya Karibu
Agrico East AfricaNakuruMarkies, Destiny, Manitou, Rudolph, Arizona, Arnova, Carolus, Faluka, Zafira, Kuroda
Baraka Agricultural CollegeNakuru-MoloShangi
Benjamin CheruiyotUasin-GishuDutch Robijn
Charvi Investment/EuroPlant Aardappel B.VNakuru- Mau NarokShangi, Dutch Robijn, Jelly, Rumba, Milva, Laura
Clabham Investment limited – Frontier farmNakuruShangi, Dutch Robijn
Den HartighThe NetherlandsConnect, Caruso
Gene Biotech seeds LTDKajiadoShangi
GTIL (Apical cuttings and minitubers only)NairobiDutch Robijn, Shangi and Konjo
Grace RonoTrans-NzoiaShangi
IPM & Kevian Kenya seeds (Kirinyaga seeds)KiambuShangi, Unica and Dutch Robijn
Julius KandieTrans-NzoiaDutch Robijn
KALRO-TigoniKiambuShangi, Tigoni, Unica, Kenya Karibu, Sherekea, Kenya Mavuno, Wanjiku, Nyota, Lenana, Annet, Chulu, Dutch Robijn and Kenya Mpya
Kenya Highland Seeds (Royal seed)/DanespoNairobiRoyal, Sarpo Mira
A list of the best potato producers in Kenya

potato farming challenges in in Kenya

Low yields While the potato yield per acre for most potato yields is 16-4o tons per acre, the national average of potato farming is 3.3 tons per acre. As a farmer observe good crop management, control pests, and diseases, and apply the right fertilizer amounts to double your yields to at least 8 tons per acre.

Post-harvest food waste: Most of the harvested potatoes goes to waste before consumption. It rots in the farms or sprouts before it can be sold. Though there are interventions to erect potato cold rooms in high potato-producing areas like Molo, Nyandarua, and Meru counties, as a farmer you can plant varieties with low sprouting, susceptible to fast rot, and use simple storage methods to increase its shelf life.

Potato varieties list in Kenya

Categories of potato by the Intended use

You can grow potato varieties that are either best for making crisps, chips, or mashing.

Best potatoes for crisps have low starch, have a fresh look, and are firm. Select ones with a longer tuber dormancy since the best crisps are made of potatoes with shallow eyes and no sprouts. Examples of the best potatoes for making crisps in Kenya are the Dutch Robijin, Royal, and the sherehekea among others.

Wondering which are the best potatoes for making chips? The yellow-skinned potatoes are the best. These have a rich content of starch making them soft with a dry texture. Agcenture recommends the Shangi, Challenger, and Laura among others in the table below.

The best potatoes for mashing or table have a high content of starch. This gives you a flourily or fluffy smooth mash when they are cooked. They include all the white-fleshed and yellow-fleshed varieties like the Annet, Chulu, or the Jelly. Besides, these have a naturally buttery flavor and creamy, dense consistency.

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2 Comments

  • Are there potato varieties that take 2 months to reach maturity and begin harvesting?

    15 June - 2023 at 01:38 PM
    Paul Kinyanjui Reply
    • Yes, its possible. look for the potato varieties whose maturity period is <3 months.
      You can shorten the time further by investing in controlled greenhouse farming or providing artificial lighting at night

      24 July - 2023 at 07:44 PM