Tips for Adding value to Potatoes in Kenya

Are you looking for innovative ways to make more money with potato farming? Are you looking for creative ways to increase your potato farming income? If yes, you have come to the right palace.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kenya produced over 5.2 million metric tons of potatoes in 2019, making it the eighth-largest producer in Africa.

 Despite the impressive production figures, the potato value chain in Kenya remains largely underdeveloped, with limited value addition and processing activities.

 In this blog post, we will discuss how to add value to potatoes in Kenya and explore the benefits of value addition to the Kenyan economy.

What is Value Addition?

Value addition refers to transforming a raw commodity into a processed or finished product with a higher value, quality, and marketability.

 In the case of potatoes, value addition involves transforming raw potatoes into processed potato products, such as potato crisps, potato chips, potato flakes, French fries, potato starch, and potato flour. 

The process of value addition involves various stages, including cleaning, peeling, slicing, blanching, frying, drying, milling, and packaging.

Why is Value Addition Important?

Value addition plays a crucial role in enhancing the agricultural sector’s competitiveness and improving the income and livelihoods of farmers, processors, and traders.

 By adding value to agricultural commodities, farmers can increase their income by selling processed products at higher prices, which are often more stable and less volatile than raw commodities.

 On the other hand, processors and traders can benefit from increased profits and market share by selling value-added products that meet consumers’ specific needs and preferences.

Value addition also contributes to job creation and poverty reduction, particularly in rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood. 

By creating processing and marketing opportunities, value addition can create employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers, particularly women and youth who often face significant barriers to employment in the formal sector.

Tips for Adding value to Potatoes in Kenya

In Kenya, potatoes are a significant crop, with an estimated 800,000 smallholder farmers producing over 2 million tons of potatoes annually. 

Despite the significant production, there is a significant gap in value addition, with most potatoes sold in their raw form, leading to low prices for farmers and limited income generation opportunities.

However, adding value to potatoes can open up new markets, increase profitability for farmers, and create employment opportunities for local communities.

Sorting and grading

Sorting and grading potatoes is the first step towards adding value. Sorting and grading ensure that only high-quality potatoes are sold, while low-quality potatoes are diverted towards processing. 

The sorting and grading process can be done manually or using machines.In Kenya, various companies provide sorting and grading services, such as Agrimech Africa Ltd and Labtech Ltd.

According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), sorted and graded potatoes attract a premium price of up to 20% compared to those sold in their raw form. Therefore, sorting and grading are crucial in adding value to potatoes.


Processing is another crucial aspect of adding value to potatoes. Potatoes can be processed into various products, such as chips, crisps, flour, and French fries. Processing potatoes increases their shelf life and can be sold in more distant markets, opening up new business opportunities.

There are several potato processing companies in Kenya, such as Kenya Highland Chips, King Crisps, and Fressy Food Products, among others. These companies process potatoes into different products that can be sold in supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants.

According to the International Trade Centre (ITC) report, the global market for frozen French fries is projected to reach USD 20.4 billion by 2026. With proper processing, Kenyan farmers can tap into this lucrative market.


Packaging is another critical aspect of adding value to potatoes. Proper packaging ensures that potatoes remain fresh for longer and reduces post-harvest losses. Additionally, packaging potatoes attractively can increase their market appeal.

In Kenya, various packaging options are available, such as sacks, boxes, and plastic bags. However, the packaging used should be of high quality to ensure that the potatoes remain fresh for an extended period.

Value chain integration

involves linking various actors in the potato value chain to ensure that there is a continuous flow of potatoes from the farmer to the final consumer. 

By integrating the value chain, farmers can access new markets, and value addition opportunities, leading to increased profitability.

In Kenya, several initiatives aim to integrate the potato value chain. For instance, the International Potato Centre (CIP) has launched the Potato Value Chain Project, which seeks to enhance the productivity and profitability of smallholder potato farmers in Kenya.

The project aims to improve the potato value chain by increasing access to quality inputs, providing technical assistance to farmers, and linking farmers to markets, among other interventions. 

By integrating the potato value chain, smallholder farmers can realize the full potential of their crop.

Value addition through innovation

Innovation is critical in adding value to potatoes. Through innovation, new products and processes can be developed that increase the market appeal of potatoes. For instance, research has shown that potatoes can be used to produce biofuels, which can be a game-changer in the energy sector.


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