Solynta, a Dutch-based potato breeding technology company, is spearheading a transformative shift in Kenya’s agricultural landscape with its innovative hybrid true potato seed (HTPS) breeding technology. This cutting-edge approach is poised to empower smallholder farmers, enhance yields, and usher in a new era of sustainable farming practices.
Seeding a Revolution: The Power of Hybrid Technology
Charles Miller, Solynta’s Director of Strategic Alliances and Development, emphasizes the game-changing nature of Solynta’s hybrid potatoes. Unlike traditional tubers, these true seeds are disease-free and resilient, allowing farmers to predict yields with confidence. The non-GMO technology ensures a continuous supply of clean seeds throughout the year, revolutionizing the planting process.
Introduced in Kenya in 2020, these seeds have undergone rigorous field trials in key potato farming regions, receiving acclaim from outgrowers. Farmers appreciate the shift from bulky, rot-prone tubers to healthier, resilient seedlings that promise robust yields even without constant chemical intervention.
Varietal Triumph: Solhy 016 and 017 Lead the Way
Warmolt Tonckens, Solynta’s Business Development Lead in Kenya, showcases the success of Solynta’s varieties, specifically Solhy 016 and 017. These varieties demonstrate exceptional resistance to Late Blight, a common potato threat. Moreover, they yield up to 20 tubers per plant, positioning them as not only resilient but also promising contributors to food security.
The Path to Sustainable Farming Practices
Miller envisions a future where Solynta’s HTPS technology facilitates sustainable farming practices. With enhanced disease and pest resistance, farmers would require only 36,000 to 38,000 seeds per acre, yielding up to 25 tonnes in just 100-110 days – all without the need for chemical interventions. This approach aligns with the broader goal of promoting food security and sustainable agriculture.
Addressing Potato Seed Challenges in Kenya
Despite being the second most important staple food crop in Kenya, the potato sector faces challenges, particularly in seed sourcing. The majority of potato seeds (98%) come from uncertified informal sources, impacting production. Solynta’s innovative technology offers a solution, providing certified, disease-free seeds and empowering farmers to take control of their planting materials.
Empowering Smallholders Against Climate Change
Beyond disease resistance, Solynta’s commitment extends to climate resilience. By providing climate-resilient varieties that withstand unpredictable weather patterns, the company aims to empower small-scale farmers, especially those dependent on rain-fed farming.
Solynta’s strategic alliance approach involves collaboration with stakeholders across Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, and Malawi. The company collaborates with seed merchants, farmers, aggregators, and industry associations to drive positive change in the potato value chain.
In a bid to empower local communities, Solynta is actively working with smallholders in Njoro, Nakuru County, assisting them in seedling cultivation. This collaborative effort not only fosters agricultural knowledge-sharing but also positions the youth as enthusiastic partners in adopting HTPS technology.
Seeding the Future: Solynta’s Vision for Global Impact
Solynta envisions a future where global alliances create a significant impact on food security, sustainable farming practices, and improved crop yields. By prioritizing innovation and seed security, the company aims to contribute positively and sustainably to global food production.
As Solynta continues its mission, Kenya’s smallholder farmers stand to benefit from a revolution in potato farming – a revolution powered by technology, sustainability, and a commitment to feeding communities with bountiful yields.
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