Tree nursery owners in Siaya County have been told to have them certified, in compliance with the law and to improve market access.
An Inspector at Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), Ms. Edda Kinyus, while on a tour of select nurseries in the area, said certification was mandatory, though majority of farmers took it for granted.
The Inspector said certification ensured adherence to tree seedlings production standards and improves market access because large scale buyers follow the KEPHIS and Horticultural Crops Development (HCD) certifications list.
“To qualify for certification, tree nursery owners must have updated records of their stock and sales, propagation materials, pests and disease control measures, growing media and ability to offer trainings,” said Ms. Kinyus.
The Siaya County Ecosystems Conservator, Mr. Donald Avude, said out of the 230 tree nurseries identified by his office in the area, only 10 per cent were certified.
The Conservator said it was important for commercial tree nurseries to be certified because legal organisations were keen on acquiring clean seeds and seedlings.
Mr Avude said production of seedlings should be stepped up, to increase the County’s forest cover which was at 0.04 per cent, against the national target of 10 per cent.
By Paul Olale