Improving incomes in potato farmingContentThe Coffey-managed Business Advocacy Fund is helping to create sustainable economic growth and address poverty in Kenya. This series takes a look at how the Fund works.

In Kenya, the potato value chain employs 2.5 million people. Many are small scale farmers who grow 83% of all of the country’s potato crops.

For years, potato farmers were obliged to sell their produce by the bag rather than by weight. The price a farmer received at market for their produce was therefore not dependent on the amount of potatoes supplied, but on the size of the bag. However, the size of bags used in potato production varied from 130kg to 280 kg once sealed, resulting in produce fetching an arbitrary market price that did not reflect the actual amount.

The Kenya National Potato Farmers Association worked to ensure farmers received a fair price for their crop on a consistent basis.

With the help of the Business Advocacy Fund, the Association successfully advocated for new legal provisions which required all bags to have a weight limit of 110kg.

Several steps were also taken to encourage potato farming. A National Potato Council was formed to oversee and resolve the issues of potato farmers, and the Ministry of Agriculture introduced a potato desk office in both national and county offices. It is estimated that this enforcement of legislation has directly impacted 800,000 farmers, resulting in an aggregate increase in revenue of KShs. 3.5 billion (38.9 million USD).

At the beginning of 2014 new laws were passed to standardize the potato bag to 50kg per bag. It is estimated that this new standardization provides an additional 4,335khs to each potato farmer per year.

The Business Advocacy Fund (BAF) is a Danida-funded project. It supports business member organisations, trades unions and civil society organisations that engage in private public dialogue and advocate for improvements in the business environment in Kenya. BAF provides effective advocacy to lead to investment encouraging more jobs, and strengthening the Kenyan economy.