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Kephis warns farmers on use of uncertified seeds

By Philip Mwakio | November 6th 2018

Farmers in the country have been put on alert to use only certified seeds for planting as the short rains of October and December sets by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis).

Kephis is a government agency whose responsibility is to assure the quality of agricultural inputs and produce, certifying seeds of all crop varieties to ensure that only seeds of highest quality is sold to farmers.

In a paid up advertisement appearing in a section of the press, Kephis Managing director, Dr Esther Kimani urged farmers to ensure that they use seed varities certified and recommended for their particular areas.

''Certified seeds are those that have met the minimum national set quality standards after undergoing field inspection, laboratory tests and post control tests by Kephis as per the Seeds and Plant Varities Act (Cap) 326 of the Laws of Kenya,'' said the MD.

She added that the use of certified seeds guarantees high yield (certified seeds does not cost) , it pays and quality crop produce and better returns when all other factors of crop production  and agricultural practices are optimal.

'' We further urge farmers to confirm the quality of agricultural inputs like fertiliser, manure , pesticides, water and soil  used through laboratory tests  conducted by reputable laboratories,'' she said.

The laboratories are the Kephis Analytical Testing Laboratory which has offices at Kephis headquarters, Nairobi and Kitale regional office.

The MD noted that in certified seeds a farmer is getting guaranteed quality assurance offers better deals in crop insurance/financing of the crop , traceability of certified seeds is easy  and having used certified seeds, a farmer is getting access to premium markets.

''There are lesser instance of insect and disease problems as quality seeds respond better to applied fertilisers, leads to uniformity in plant population and maturity. Good seeds prolongs life of a variety ,ensures easy yield prediction as well as easy post-harvest operation and high produce value and marketability is ensured,'' she explained.

Farmers at the same time have been challenged to  report all cases of  suspect seeds  at the nearest police station, nearest Kephis offices of the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries.

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