- Slides: 13
Characteristics of the potato crisps processing industry in Kenya 3 rd International e-Conference on Agricultural Biosciences (Ie. CAB 2010) 1 -15 June 2010
Authors George O. Abong’ 1 , Michael W. Okoth 1, Jasper K. Imungi 1 and Jackson N. Kabira 2 1 Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi; 2 National Potato Research Centre (KARI), Tigoni, Kenya. Corresponding author: Email: [email protected] com; Phone: 254735508558
Introduction n n Most of the potato in Kenya is primarily consumed in the area of production, thus utilization is mainly in the rural areas. Consumption has been increasing in urban centers, with increase of fast food restaurants and processing industries in most Kenyan towns especially Nairobi city (Walingo et al. , 1998). Processing and marketing of crisps has become a major commercial activity in urban centers. Most city dwellers eat potato crisps twice a week on the average.
Introduction. . . n Processing of crisps has undergone tremendous growth over the n n n Processing of crisps has undergone tremendous growth over the last three decades. Manufacturers have specific requirements of variety, quality and quantity of the fresh potatoes they require (Walingo et al. , 1998). Although processing of crisps is increasing no varieties are grown specifically for processing. Little information is available regarding trends in processing of potato crisps in Kenya. The objective of this study was to characterize the requirements of potato crisps processors in terms of varieties, pre-processing handling practices and overall constraints.
Materials and Methods n n n This study was carried out between December 2009 and February 2010. Potato crisps industry was characterized using a structured questionnaire. A total of 24 brands of potato crisps had earlier been identified from 80 shops in Nairobi in an earlier study by the same authors. With appropriate contacts on the labels, the processors were contacted, visited and interviewed. A total of 23 processors traced up to within and around Nairobi city and Nakuru Town were interviewed. Data was collected on varieties, pre-processing handling practices and constraints from managers or owners of the processing firms.
Results and discussions n n n Out of the 23 processing firms, 83 % were located in and around Nairobi city while 18 % were located in Nakuru town. Number of employees ranged from 2 to 250; 61 % of the processing firms had 5 or less employees. 22 % firms employed 6 -10 people while only 4 % had over 100 employees. Most of the processing (83 %) is carried out by small-scale processors. Most firms (48 %) had processed crisps for the last 4 -6 years compared to 17 % that had been established for over 10 years.
Results and discussions… n n n Approximately 4 % lacked proper equipments and market, 64 % lacked regular supply of raw potatoes and poor quality while 43 % cited lack of finance to increase volume of production. The industries had other products as a form of diversifying their markets. 91 % of the firms processed potato crisps as the main product that also ranked first among other products. Majority of the industries (52 %) processed 50 -100 kg of potato crisps; about 4 % processed 1 ton and above daily. This was in tandem with the nature and capacity of the crisps processing industry observed in Kenya: majority operate on small-scale.
Results and discussions. . . l l l A majority of processors (83 %) sell their products to supermarkets, 3 % sell to individuals and kiosks. Demand for potato crisps varies with seasons; higher during school holidays and during festive seasons. A few (21 %) smaller processors, had higher sales during school days: kiosks served school going children. Figure 1 shows the major potato cultivars used by Kenyan processors. Dutch Robjyn is the most widely preferred potato cultivar as reported previously (Walingo et al. , 1997) Cultivars such us Tigoni and Sangi are also used but rarely and usually during shortage of cv. Dutch Robjyn.
Fig. 1: Potato varieties used in processing crisps in Kenya
Results and discussions… n n n During raw potato acquisition, processors are faced with a number of problems. Main problem is price fluctuation and low quality of raw potatoes, followed by unavailability of required varieties throughout the year. Many processors (70 %) stored their raw potatoes for quite a short period of time ranging from 2 days to 3 weeks. A few (30 %) larger processing firms, stored potatoes for a month or beyond; had required structures and skills. Raw potato storage is an important pre-processing step that requires absolute care and skills to maintain quality of crisps.
Results and discussions. . . The major type of fuel used by most of the processors (52 %) was sawdust and firewood. n 31% used electricity and 17 % used charcoal; electricity is currently expensive. n Rina vegetable oil; a good number (30 %) used Cheff and Elianto corn oils, 26 % used golden fry vegetable oil while a few (4 %) used Ufuta and Postmaster vegetable oils. None of the surveyed processors used solid fats. n Most of the crisps had a shelf-life of 3 -5 months, as was indicated on the packages by processors. n
Conclusions and recommendations n n n n Potato crisps processing industry in Kenya is largely dominated by small scale processors. They are faced with a myriad of problems: price fluctuations, unavailability/poor quality raw potatoes, lack of skills and information on raw potato storage. The industry relies heavily on only one variety that is not always available to meet demand. A large number stored their raw potatoes for short duration (2 days to 3 weeks) due to lack of sufficient storage facilities and knowledge. Training on basic storage requirements is needed. The information generated is critical to potato breeders, towards breeding more crisping cultivars. Post harvest technologists can also research on performance of other potato cultivars for processing potato crisps in the country.
Acknowledgements n University of Nairobi n DAAD Nairobi office n National Potato Research Centre (KARI, Tigoni)