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KEPHIS Intensify crackdown on fake seeds as rain season beckons

KEPHIS Intensify crackdown on fake seeds as rain season beckons

Mombasa,

Friday, March 22, 2024

KNA by Sadik Hassan

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has intensified a nationwide crackdown on outlets selling fake seeds to farmers.The move aims to mitigate the influx of fake seeds in the country.

KEPHIS is using a multi-agency approach in its operation to save the agriculture sector from destruction.

Following reports of counterfeit seeds being sold in the country KEPHIS has conducted surveillance in Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kiambu, Muranga, Nakuru, Nairobi, Kajiado, Makueni, Nyamira, and Kisii counties.

KEPHIS Chairman Joseph M’uthari said in Mombasa that they have so far intercepted 18 metric tons of fake seeds mainly of maize and apprehended and charged 65 persons.

The seeds, he noted, have devastating effects on farmers and farms. He termed agro dealers selling fake seeds as economic saboteurs who are hell-bent on derailing the country’s bid to be food-sufficient in line with the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

“The agenda of agriculture transformation cannot be achieved without proper seeds which are the main ingredients in the food production system.We have visited many counties and will soon embark on the Eastern part where the planting season is almost starting to ensure farmers get the right materials,” stated.

KEPHIS Chairman M’uthari.Agro dealers using fake KEPHIS stickers were put on notice. Farmers were urged to buy certified seeds from agro-dealers licensed by KEPHIS, before planting, to examine the seeds for rot, pests or other insects and to report any abnormalities promptly.

“We are working round the clock to ensure that farmers get the right seeds and those who are selling fake seeds we are going for them,” said KEPHIS Chairman.“Anybody involved in the illicit trade of fake seeds we are going for them. They could have been doing it but their time is up,” he added.

KEPHIS is increasing its human capacity, especially in agricultural counties to monitor the production of seeds.All seeds produced in the country are supposed to be inspected by KEPHIS inspectors during active growth in the field and during processing.

“All seed is sampled and tested to ensure it meets germination and purity standards. The seed is also tested to ensure freedom from relevant diseases such as Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN),” said M’uthari.

The syndicate of unscrupulous traders have cast their net wide to the neighbouring countries. Farmers were encouraged to relay information to KEPHIS on sellers of fake seeds for arrests to be made.

Courtesy; KNA

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