nya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has launched a comprehensive crackdown across the nation to combat the proliferation of counterfeit seeds infiltrating the agricultural sector.

In a concerted effort to safeguard the integrity of the agriculture industry, KEPHIS has mobilized a multi-agency operation to stem the tide of fake seeds inundating the market.

Reports of counterfeit seed sales have prompted KEPHIS to conduct extensive surveillance spanning numerous counties, including Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kiambu, Muranga, Nakuru, Nairobi, Kajiado, Makueni, Nyamira, and Kisii.

Joseph M’uthari, Chairman of KEPHIS, disclosed in Mombasa that the crackdown has already resulted in the interception of 18 metric tons of fake seeds, primarily maize, and the subsequent apprehension and charging of 65 individuals.

“We have successfully apprehended approximately 65 suspects involved in the distribution of counterfeit seeds.

Through our extensive operations across the country, we have intercepted a total of 18 metric tons of various types of counterfeit seeds, with maize comprising the majority of the seizures,” stated M’uthar.

 

M’uthari underscored the detrimental impact of these fake seeds on farmers and their livelihoods, denouncing the perpetrators as economic saboteurs hindering the nation’s pursuit of food sufficiency under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

He emphasized the pivotal role of quality seeds in agricultural transformation, asserting KEPHIS’s commitment to ensuring farmers have access to genuine seeds, particularly as the planting season approaches in the Eastern region.

Warning Agro dealers employing counterfeit KEPHIS stickers, M’uthari urged farmers to procure certified seeds from licensed dealers and to promptly report any irregularities.

“Those engaged in the illicit trade of fake seeds should be forewarned: we are actively pursuing them. Their days of operating in impunity are numbered,” he added

KEPHIS reaffirmed its resolve to root out illicit trade in fake seeds, bolstering human resources in agricultural counties to monitor seed production rigorously.

All locally produced seeds undergo rigorous inspection during growth and processing stages to guarantee compliance with germination and purity standards, as well as freedom from diseases like Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN).

The syndicate behind the counterfeit seed trade extends its reach to neighbouring countries, prompting KEPHIS to urge farmers to collaborate in identifying and reporting fake seed vendors for swift action.

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Joseph M’uthari Chairman of KEPHIS Leading his team on the Battle for Genuine Seeds and Sustainable Agriculture in Mombasa.