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Government moves to save farmers

The government lost Sh 153.1 billion in revenue to illicit trade and counterfeit products in the year 2018.

            This followed a survey that was carried during the year and release last year that also revealed that the number of jobs lost through the illicit trade stood at 44,198, which is equivalent to 21 per cent.

            Speaking during a farmer’s forum at the Kitale Club Tuesday, the chairperson of Anti- counterfeit Authority Flora Mutahi said that her organization is seeking partners to end the illicit trade and especially in agriculture.

            She noted that at every stage of the farming season right from land preparation to harvesting, farmers encounter counterfeit inputs that affect their production and profits.

            “We have it on record from Agrochemical Association of Kenya that the country is losing Sh120 billion in revenue to unregistered agro-chemical dealers,” she said.

            According to Mutahi, the counterfeit market accounts for 15 percent to 20 percent agrochemicals being distributed in the country, posing a threat to farmers and the environment.

            She however noted that despite the public being aware of the counterfeit products in the market, they still bought the products.

            She said that the government has put in place a multi-agency enforcement team to stamp out the practice.

            She disclosed that illicit goods worth Sh13.5 billion has since been seized and destroyed.

            Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development Lawrence Karanja who was the chief guest said that the government is doing everything possible to save the farmers from counterfeit products before the planting season commences.

            He said that growing reported cases on counterfeit agricultural farm inputs which include seed, fertilizer, agrochemicals and farm machinery spares and components has called for farmer’s sensitization forums.

            Counterfeit and illicit trade affects farmer’s productivity and safety and generally their health adding that the illegal trade was a threat to food security and manufacturing and asked stakeholders to work as a team to end the vice.

            “Farmers must be aware that in most cases what is counterfeit is cheap and should purchase their farm inputs in accredited shops,” he advised.

            He said that both public and private sectors are working to streamline the supply and distribution chain and discuss on best strategies to improve on linkages that will end the vice.

            He noted that illicit trade was an impediment towards the realization of the county’s Big Four Agenda.

            He asked county governments to work with other bodies to end the vice especially during issuance of licenses.

            The forum was attended by farmers’ groups, KRA representatives, Kenya Agrochemicals Association NEMA among stakeholders

by Pauline Ikanda

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