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Government intensifies fight against fake seeds

13 March 2015, 08:11

Nairobi - The government has partnered with agro- dealers and farmers' organizations to boost the fight against fake seeds that have flooded the market due to regulatory hiccups, senior officials said on Thursday

Kenneth Ayuko, the Deputy Director in charge of policy development and coordination at the Ministry of Agriculture said a crackdown on unscrupulous traders dealing with counterfeit seeds has intensified countrywide.

"We have developed a raft of regulations to boost the fight against fake seeds. The new regulations proposes heavy penalties on culprits and mandate the regulator to revoke operating licenses, " said Ayuko.

He spoke in Nairobi during the launch of a survey that indicated Kenya is among African countries grappling with the menace of counterfeit seeds.

Unscrupulous traders in Kenya have exploited regulatory loopholes to peddle fake seeds. Ayuko noted poor enforcement of regulations; abject poverty and ignorance among farmers were to blame for an influx of counterfeit seeds in the market.

"Poor governance and the attendant failure of the regulatory system have undermined the war against fake seeds. The informal seed sector that commands 85 percent of the market share is reeling from counterfeits," Ayuko told journalists.

Besides adopting new regulations, Kenya has invested in modern technologies to help monitor and report fake seeds.

Ayuko said that mobile applications have been developed to enable farmers ascertain the quality of seeds.

Also read: KFA urges farmers to capitalize on new prices

"Mobile platforms are helping farmers to verify the quality of seeds in the market. It is easy to track the movement of fake seeds using a user-friendly mobile application," Ayuko said.

He revealed key stakeholders have intensified public education to warn farmers against the dangers of fake seeds. Counterfeit seeds pose serious threat to food security and growth of indigenous enterprises.

Captain James Karanja, the General Manager, Freshco Seeds Limited regretted that counterfeits have undermined growth of a vibrant seed industry in Kenya.

"Fake seeds erode trust among players in the value chains and have compromised our ability to feed the population," Karanja said.

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- Xinhua


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