Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Home > Agriculture > KEPHIS officials nab seven traders selling fake seeds 

KEPHIS officials nab seven traders selling fake seeds 

Seven traders in Kisii and Nyamira counties have been apprehended by officials from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for selling uncertified maize seeds to farmers.

Speaking to the press at a hotel in Kisii town, KEPHIS Acting Deputy Director, Kisumu region Chelangat Tonui said they had conducted a two-week surveillance on seed certification in the region and arrested the traders for selling seeds without a license.

During the exercise, Tonui noted they had impounded 210 kilograms of counterfeit seeds from three unlicensed individuals in Kisii and another 100 kilograms from four people in Nyamira County.

“Fake seeds are a major contributor of low yields in Kisii and Nyamira counties and we want to ensure that farmers can access and use certified seeds from the agro vets,” she said.

The Ag. Deputy Director noted the operation was ongoing across the country to weed out individuals who were taking advantage of the planting season to sell fake seeds to unsuspecting farmers.

The Seed and Plant Varieties Act Cap 326 of 2012 stipulates that individuals arrested for dealing in fake seeds should pay a fine of up to Sh. 1 million and a jail term of up to two years if found guilty.

Tonui urged the farmers to purchase the seeds from licensed Agrovets that are mandated to conduct the business and ensure the seed packets have quality marks and sticker labels from KEPHIS.

In addition, she encouraged the licensed seed sellers to report individuals selling unverified maize seeds to farmers through KEPHIS or the nearest Ministry of Agriculture so that they can be apprehended.

“The overall objective of this operation is to ensure food security in our country and if farmers use uncertified seeds, they will get low yields meaning they will not have enough for consumption and even extra for sale,” said Tonui.

Regarding the purchase of fruit tree seedlings, she urged farmers to buy the certified seedlings at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) that produces high quality fruit trees that can be sold in international markets.

Tonui added that KEPHIS is working closely with the counties through the Departments of Agriculture in recommending individuals for licensing of their Agrovets and sensitizing the farmers on good agricultural practices.

Ag. Deputy Director noted they are also collaborating with seed companies to encourage individuals who wish to distribute the seeds to acquire a seed sellers license from KEPHIS so that the institution can reduce unlicensed seed sellers.

On her part, the Chief Officer for Agriculture, Agnes Choti said that Kisii county government had employed Extension Officers in the field to assist the farmers in identifying the certified maize seeds.

The Chief Officer noted the yields had improved due to the reduction of the cost of farm inputs.

Ms. Choti lauded the national government for providing subsidized fertilizer which has greatly contributed to high yields.

She affirmed the county government’s commitment to supporting the Agriculture sector to enhance food security in the region.

By Mercy Osongo

Leave a Reply