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Farmers cautioned on counterfeit seeds in the market

By | October 16th 2009

By John Oyuke

Farmers have been warned to look out for counterfeit seeds being distributed around the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture has said some unscrupulous traders were taking advantage of the ongoing distribution of maize seeds to farmers in districts affected by drought.

Assistant minister, Gideon Ndambuki said selling counterfeit seeds and chemicals will expose farmers to crop failure leading to continued food insecurity.

He said the agri-business community has been grappling with counterfeit problems and the ministry is sensitising farmers as they prepare for planting season.

Ndambuki was speaking during the launch of a new packaging by Farmchem Limited, a leading agricultural inputs importer and supplier in Nairobi on Thursday.

Farmchem’s Managing Director, Charles Mulinge said the company invested in the new all-weather, easy to open, reseal and longer shelf life packaging to beat counterfeits.

"With the old package, unscrupulous business people found it easy to copy and brand it as if it were Farmchem’s and re-sell the same to unsuspecting farmers," he added.

Mulinge said counterfeiting is a problem that can no longer be ignored. "Counterfeiting should be addressed urgently if we are to curb the current financial crunch and food shortage," he stated.

He said with the new packaging, farmers are guaranteed safety of their seeds and fertilisers for a longer period of time while maintaining the quality from manufacturers.

He described counterfeiting as a threat to food security on the continent and asked Governments to consider increasing existing penalties against the distribution and selling of counterfeit seeds.

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