Regulations to weed out fake seed cartels

Business Daily Kenya:  George Kebaso and Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe Government will be able to weed out cartels and middlemen tradin...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Dry maize cobs. Photo/File

George Kebaso and Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe

Government will be able to weed out cartels and middlemen trading fake seeds in the country. Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett yesterday said illegal seed business controls about 20 per cent of the entire industry which to a large extent contributes to food insecurity.

He said Kenya will comply with harmonised seed regulation an initiative championed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretariat.

Annual turnover

The Kenya seed industry’s annual turnover stands at more than Sh6 billion out of which 20 per cent is promoted by dishonest traders selling fake seeds. Bett observed that harmonisation of regulations in the industry will help in taming unethical trade practices.

During the launch of the harmonised Comesa trade seed regulations, to be implemented between July-August, Bett said guidelines will contribute to increased absorption of quality seeds and boost food production.

“I am happy to note that all the processes have been homegrown and sensitive to country situations while keeping the broader objective of attaining the harmonised regulations in focus, “ Bett said adding that this deliberate inclusivity in the process has led to regulations that are widely acceptable to seed industry stakeholders.

John Mukuka, a Comesa seed expert said the regulations has synchronised standards that deal with seed certification, variety release and aspects of phytosanitary and quarantine measures for seed imports and exports.

“These are enshrined in the national seed laws. We are using the same standards that will ensure seed is moving freely across borders.

This will make it difficult for fake seeds to be sold in the market,” he said. Within the Comesa region, Mukuka confirmed fake seeds preference in Comesa is averaging about 10 to 25 per cent depending on the country.

“By building capacity of countries and gazetting harmonised regulations countries have the mandate to produce quality seeds and combat counterfeit in the process, ”Mukuka said.

Seed value

The seed value in Comesa is about Sh130 billion against Sh5.7 trillion in the global market. Reforms being undertaken in the region will help boost the value of the industry to over Sh500 billion in the next five years.

Bett said the new regulations come when Comesa member countries are experiencing food shortages following prolonged drought, among other challenges.

“This occasion therefore gives us an opportunity to collectively reflect on how best we can plan and avoid or mitigate risks in agriculture in future,” he said.

The post Regulations to weed out fake seed cartels appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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