Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the second most important staple food crop in Kenya, coming second to maize. It has the potential to contribute greatly to national food and nutrition security, yet the country still suffers from food insecurity. The average yields of potato in Kenya are relatively low at 8 tonnes per hectare, compared to 40 tonnes per hectare in America and Western Europe. One of the leading causes of low yields is the use of poor quality certified seed by farmers. This study assessed the factors preventing smallholder potato farmers in Nakuru County from using certified seed. A cross-sectional survey research design was used to carry out the study in three purposively selected administrative wards of Njoro and Kuresoi North sub-counties. Purposive and cluster sampling methods were used to select 175 respondents. A researcher administered semi-structured questionnaire was used by trained enumerators to collect data which was analysed using SPSS. The findings revealed that majority of the respondents (66%) knew about certified seed potato, but only 26% used the certified seed. The main reasons for failure to use certified seed potato were; high cost of the seed reported by 39.6% of respondents, followed by unavailability of seed (23.6%), and lack of production knowledge (20.8%). About 15% of respondents reported not knowing where to get the seed. The study recommends a multi-pronged approach to promoting the use of certified seed potato, through linkage to credit facilities, increased and decentralized seed potato production and provision of adequate extension services to potato farmers.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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