Potato supply response in Kenya: a case study of Kinangop district
Potato is an important food crop in Kenya and the government policy objective is to increase its production in order to attain country's food self sufficiency and security. Potato production has been on a declining trend with consumption demand being way above domestic supply. The purpose of this study is to assess how responsive potato output is to variable input factors. The study used cross sectional farm level data for the 2011 and 2012 crop years obtained from ninety (90) potato farmers in Kinangop district in Kenya. The study employed Cobb Douglas production function and a profit function to estimate potato output response to variable inputs. Results show that crop farming (potato) was the major source of livelihood; potato production was negatively affected by high input cost, shortage in supply of input, disease, poor selling price, and decrease in market demand. Fertilizer, seeds quality and herbicides cost were factors that affected potato production. The fertilizer costs was the most significant factor, followed by credit access, seed quality and cost, herbicides costs and labour costs respectively. Based on the findings, the study recommends that the government improve the road network in the region to facilitate the marketing of potatoes, decentralise government subsidized fertiliser to enable farmers access the product easily, subsidize certified seed cost to farmers, and the government and other financial institutions should offer credit facilities to the potato farmers.