Agriculture stakeholders raise alarm over increase in counterfeit seeds.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro) has decried the continued counterfeiting of their seed products leading to farmers acquiring fake seeds and ending up with poor or no harvests.
Kalro director of Crops Lusike Wasike said that the counterfeiting of the seeds is the leading contributor to poor harvests and low crop production by the farmers thus leading to increased cost of living as food is imported from outside the country.
Speaking while opening a Mkulima shop in Mwea, Kirinyaga county, Wasike said that they are opening 16 other shops across the country so as to ensure farmers get a chance to buy certified and quality seeds from the organization.
He said their new bean variety ‘Nyota’ has also fallen into the hands of counterfeits who are branding their bags with Kalro and Nyota initials to hoodwink the farmers who buy the fakes unknowingly. increase in counterfeit seeds
She said that the counterfeits are also portraying the scientists and researchers in a bad light with the notion that the fake seeds come from the organisation adding that they intend to open the mkulima shops in all their 54 centers across the country.
Meanwhile, Kenya Seed Company has started contracting farmers with large pieces of land to plant sunflower seeds for multiplication and produce enough seeds for farmers to plant to reduce the importation of edible oils.
Chairperson Purity Ngirici has said that the solution to lowering the cost of edible oils is to produce it locally and reduce the importation by at least 50 percent.
Ngirici said that if there is enough sunflower and other edible oil-producing seeds, farmers will be able to produce in large numbers and feed the edible oils manufacturing companies with local raw materials.
Last week, President William Ruto said the government is working on importing edible oil-producing crop seeds from Zambia which will be introduced in 24 counties as a pilot project before being rolled out to farmers in other parts of the country.