Anti fake seed agency launched to fight counterfeits

A new anti fake seed agency has been launched in Nairobi to step up the fight against counterfeit seeds, which are hampering yields for farmers across East Africa, by applying stringent seed regulation and farmer education to weed out the fake seeds in the market.

Launching The Alliance for Seed Industry in Eastern and Southern Africa (Asiesa), Minister for Agriculture Dr Sally Kosgei said Asiesa was being

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created to insulate farmers from exploitation. “Our farmers have fallen prey to bogus businessmen selling to them fake seeds, the repercussion has been poor yields that has left us with food deficit,” said the minister.

“The new alliance will help us tame fake seeds through farmer education and enhance the business competitiveness of seed companies and value chain enterprises in Eastern and Southern Africa,” she said.

The association has also been tasked with strengthening and establishing national seed trade associations for the efficient coordination of seed related issues.

Farmers in Kenya and by extension Sub Saharan have grappled with a growing number of fake seeds.

Cases over the past few months have affected farmers in the breadbasket areas of Narok and Trans Nzoia counties. In Trans Nzoia county in Rift Valley province, a local security team caught a fake seed manufacturing syndicate after one tonne of uncertified maize seeds were discovered being sold at a leading supermarket in Kitale.

In Kirinyaga and Kieni County, farmers last year lost over 2 tonnes of maize in what was blamed on having bought seeds from unscrupulous seed dealers.

The global seed business is worth over Sh249 billion, out of which sub Saharan Africa's share is only worth some 660 million. The seed trade within the Comesa region has been bogged down by restricted cross-border seed movement and technologies, but the movement of fake seed is estimated to have been growing at about 5 per cent a year since 2008.

Written by Bob Koigi for African Laughter