Wageningen (The Netherlands), Nakuru (Kenya), February 2nd, 2023. Solynta – hybrid potato breeding technology company from The Netherlands and FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tubers, have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of hybrid true potato innovation in Kenya. By joining forces, the companies will work closely to facilitate future introduction of high quality hybrid potato seed tubers produced from hybrid true potato seeds. The partnership aims to put an end to the shortage of clean starting material in the region, allowing farmers to benefit from access to disease-free seed tubers. With seed tubers grown from Solynta’s non-GMO breeding technology, farmers can grow potatoes with specific beneficial traits and optimize their yield considerably, with limited risk.
FreshCrop is dedicated to supporting local farmers with clean and high-quality seed tubers, that will produce abundant yields and improving living standards throughout Kenya. ‘There is a growing demand for clean starting material in the Kenyan potato market. Existing potato diseases diminish yield and affect the overall potato quality considerably. We are continuously looking for new ways to provide our customers with solutions to their problems. We believe Solynta’s hybrid technology and true seeds are the type of innovation needed in our industry’, says FreshCrop MD Chris Gasperi. ‘We are currently working very closely with Solynta to ensure FreshCrop brings the most innovative and adapted products to its customers in the Kenyan market.’
Charles Miller, Solynta’s Director of Business Development says the partnership expresses the shared values of the two companies. ’Just like FreshCrop, Solynta’s focus is on supporting the potato farming communities and ensuring that good nutritious food is available to the world’s population. Solynta also aims to revolutionize the potato value chain, from seed to consumption, by unlocking its true potential. We strongly believe in empowering local farming communities by providing clean high quality starting material that is adapted to local growing conditions. We believe we can add value to local farmers with the introduction of specific genetic traits that are tailored to the Kenyan climate and soil.’, he concludes.
‘With the innovative technology of Solynta, potato varieties can be developed and improved in a fast and targeted way. This non-GMO technology will allow potatoes to continue to grow as a cash crop, even in changing climate conditions. With these high quality seeds, the livelihood of local farmers can be improved and nutritional security will increase. It is clear to us that these new hybrid potatoes can offer great advantages.’ says Chris Gasperi ‘In addition, we have the production and distribution infrastructure in place to facilitate easy and fast distribution of clean starting material to the rural communities of Kenya. This way, all farmers can benefit, even in the most remote areas.’
The partnership will also positively influence the Kenyan potato value chain. With a reliable flow of new and improved Solynta genetics at the front-end of the value chain, FreshCrop will no longer only be reliant on the existing potato genetics and always have access to new, robust potato varieties from hybrid true potato seed. Solynta’s non-GMO technology allows the fast development of new potato varieties with specific traits to tailor agricultural challenges, like climate change, pests and diseases and governmental restrictions on chemical usage. By linking the Solynta innovative seed technology with FreshCrops distribution network, the local potato supply chain can be made more efficient, more sustainable and flexible.
FreshCrop’s mission is to revolutionize the potato value chain from tissue culture to consumption through the empowerment and education of farmers, the implementation of climate smart agricultural practices, and the utilization of appropriate agro technology. With operations in Nakuru, Nyandarua and Narok, FreshCrop aims to optimize land management, traceability and share best practices among the Kenyan farming community.
The agricultural sector in Kenya is the backbone of the economy, contributing approximately 33 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, and employs more than 40 percent of the total population and 70 percent of the rural population. Kenya’s 4.5 million farmers produce potatoes throughout the year, and export potatoes to its surrounding countries. FreshCrop serves and supports the largest segment of potato growers in the Kenya region. For more information on FreshCrop Limited, visit freshcropfarming.com