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Counterfeiters conspire to decimate food production

Updated Wednesday, September 21st 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3
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The fraudsters package counterfeit seeds and wrap them using renowned seed producers’ packages and pass them as genuine. Some of them sell weed seeds to unsuspecting farmers, writes JOB WERU

As the Government and humanitarian agencies continue to raise alarm over the stinging famine that has claimed several lives, Kenyan farmers are nursing painful wounds inflicted by counterfeiters.

Even with the good short rains, the farmers may not save the current food situation following an attack by counterfeiters.

The farmers across the country have lost a substantive amount of money after purchasing counterfeit seeds and animal feeds.

Mr Daniel Waweru shows a datura plant at his farm. He says he bought onion seeds and after sowing, only datura weed germinated. [PHOTO: JOB WERU/STANDARD]

Some livestock farmers who invested in various farm feeds ended up burying their animals, or incurring huge amounts of money in drugs to treat the livestock after they were sold fake products, which turned out to be harmful to their animals.

The Underworld has discovered that these conmen package their products using packages similar to those of leading companies complete with brand names and fake lot numbers, which make it hard for farmers to suspect the evil game.

In one incident, Daniel Waweru, a small-scale onion farmer in Kieni West District was sold Datura seeds, which were packaged as onions.

Waweru’s dreams of making a kill in onion production and sales ended up when his seeds germinated.

He had bought 250 grammes of red creole seeds for Sh850 and sowed them.

"I had done my timing well and I expected to fetch about Sh200,000 after maturity, but I realised something was not well the moment the seeds germinated," he told The Underworld in his farm, near Kiawara Shopping Centre on the Nyeri-Nyahururu Road.

He was surprised to realise that he had sowed Datura seeds, a poisonous weed that has seeds almost resembling those of onions.

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