Potatoes in Sacks “Seed to Sow, Bread to Eat”
Did you know Africa is doing extremely well in the fresh and frozen potatoes trade. Some African country exported USD264, 319,000 worth of fresh and frozen potatoes, while African countries imported USD127,884,000 worth of fresh and frozen potatoes, given Africa a positive trade balance of USD136,435,000. Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, and Tanzania were those that exported millions of dollars’ worth of potatoes. While Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, and Malawi were sadly importing potatoes in the millions of USD. This tells me Africans especially youth and women, have no business complaining about unemployment, there are opportunities worth millions of USD within and around your country.
One of my all-time favorite bible verse is found in Isaiah 55. “As the rain and snow comes down to water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud. That it may give seed to the Sower, and bread to the eater”. This statement perfectly describes agriculture as Africa’s solution to agricultural transformation in identifying the seeds to sow.
I recently celebrated my son’s traditional marriage, and as we gifted our future in-laws with the dowry. They also blessed us with lots and lots of potatoes, cabbages, and bananas. All of us left with abundance, which was such a gift especially considering the effects of drought in Kenya, especially for my people in Ukambani.
After ensuring everyone who participated had more than enough of their share of the gifts, as the mother of the groom. I found myself with more potatoes than my husband and I could consume. Then I remember my family had land. It’s not lush green, but rather extremely dry, in fact at the time of my visit it was more like grey, not brown with hardly any green. Then I thought to myself, I wonder if I can still use my recycled water to grow those potatoes in sacks.
See as I planted my potatoes my people of Ukambani and pretty much many African countries were waiting for the rain. As I watered my potatoes with recycled water, many wondered if the soapy water would not kill the plants. A myth believed by many, but my potatoes kept growing, as my people still waited for the rain. Not to mention the price of potatoes has skyrocketed. My potatoes have flowered as my people still wait for the rain. The weather forecast has predicted poor rainfall, not to mention the delayed rainfalls. Yet my people are still waiting for the rain. I will harvest my potatoes as my people still wait for the rain. Who would have thought a simple bible verse would have lead to such an innovative disruption and dismantling of such limiting beliefs with regard to using recycled water to grow food. Much to my surprise the potatoes in Makueni have done much better than the potatoes in Nairobi. Am suspecting lots of sunshine has everything to do with it.
Planting potatoes in sacks was such a game changer in Zimbabwe, I was pleasantly surprised to see how Zimbabwean farmers where able to bring the price of potatoes down, by simply planting potatoes in sacks, they were able to produce large harvest. It was more effective because they were using less space, more precision watering, and less labor intensity. When I look at current price of potatoes, am so glad I sowed the seeds, because I will not be buying potatoes for a while, and most importantly. I will eat my bread and remember to keep some seed for sowing. I no longer have buy potatoes, that is money saved, and I still make money from selling some potatoes. Who said recurring revenue streams can only come from online work. Africa wake up, there are plenty of Agricultural markets opportunities that favour us, no matter the climate, the region, or the season.