Farmers seek law review on certified seeds

Farmers from various parts of the country showcase various types of seeds during a seed fair in Gilgil organized by the Seed-Savers network. March 9, 2023. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The ongoing drought has adversely affected seed production for various crops. Farmers say the situation is threatening food security in the country.

They want the government to legalise the ‘farmers-managed seed systems" as one way of addressing the current food security in the country.

This emerged during a seed fair in Gilgil, where farmers from various parts of the country showcased and exchanged their seeds, some of which are facing extinction.

During the event, Seed Savers Network launched an application where farmers across the country can be able to source seeds from each other.

The network's programme officer Mary Wambui noted that the seed exchange programme was critical in addressing the country’s food security. Wambui said the project involved training farmers on organic farming.

Sweet potatoes

The agriculture expert also called for a review of the country’s laws on certified seeds, noting that the farming sector should be allowed to embrace farmers-managed seeds systems.

“There are some seeds like for sweet potatoes, cassava and arrow roots which are not found in agro-vets, and we have to source them from farmers,” she said.

 Wambui noted that the seed bank initiative which had been embraced by the farmers came in handy during tough seasons when some of the members did not have the cash to buy seeds.

One of the seed ambassadors and farmer James Kariba said the seed exchange programme had assisted many farmers during tough times.

Kariba said that the seed bank offered all types of seeds, including some that were drought resistant and were not in stock in agro-vets.

“The drought has adversely affected seed production in the last three years, but the seed banks will come in handy during the planting season,” he said.