Agency bolsters fight against fake seeds

From left: Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) General Manager James Ang’awa hands over a greenhouse to Mukuria Primary School in Embu East sub-county as the school headteacher Cathyln Mwaniki and former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti watch. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) has launched a program to impound fake and low quality seeds offered to unsuspecting farmers across the country.

The program dubbed Mulika Mbegu Mbaya will ensure that the seeds packaged and sold to farmers are of good quality and certified by Kephis.

The agency said there was widespread sale of suspect seeds most of which fail to germinate while others give poor yields.

Kephis General Manager James Ang’awa said for the country to achieve its Big Four Agenda on food security, farmers must get the quality seeds that will germinate for optimum yield.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) General Manager James Ang’awa launches window grills the agency constructed for Mukuria Primary School in Embu East sub-county. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)
Ang’awa said Kephis has strengthened its supervisory role to ensure that all seed companies comply with the laid down strict regulations so that food security in the country is not compromised.

“To succeed in fighting bad seeds, the farmer should check a packet and they will a see a Kephis logo. Once they scratch it, they will find a number that when sent to a number (1393), they will know the exact variety, its producer, the batch and its lifespan.

That’s the only way to secure our agriculture. You can’t talk about food security except when you have good quality seeds,” he said.

During the last planting season, Kephis said it confiscated 13,500kgs of counterfeit seeds worth Sh2.5 million at a warehouse in Nakuru County.

Ang’awa spoke at Mukuria primary school in Embu East Sub County where Kephis has constructed a greenhouse, purchased a water tank, constructed a water collection point and donated grafted avocado seedlings.

The official urged farmers to embrace greenhouse farming to reduce pests and diseases that pose menace to food security and increase production cost by requiring use of more spray chemicals.

Former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti issues textbooks donated by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) to Mukuria Primary School in Embu East sub-county. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)
Mukuria Primary School head teacher Cathyln Mwaniki said the greenhouse will boost the school’s feeding program and also act as a source of income to the school.

Wanja said the school was hard hit due by a drought last year that affected school attendance.

 “The project will also enable pupils know what agribusiness is and its benefits. Some pupils may also consider careers in agribusiness from what they will learn here,” she said.

Former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti called for uptake of greenhouse farming by subsistence farmers, saying if each family has a greenhouse, food production in the country would increase while empowering many economically.

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Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate ServiceMukuria Primary SchoolFormer Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti