QUALITY

Farmers told to look out for fake seeds

In Summary

• In a notice issued on Monday, Kimani says when buying seeds, farmers should look out for a sticker label in all seed packaging of 5kg and below.

• Certified seeds can be identified by clearly labelled containers or packets with seed lot numbers.

George Kimani, a maize farmer in Murang'a, sorts out seeds before planting
George Kimani, a maize farmer in Murang'a, sorts out seeds before planting
Image: FILE

Farmers have been told to buy seeds from licensed stockists early enough to avoid last minute rush.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service MD Esther Kimani said farmers should ensure they go for certified seeds in containers and packets with a sticker label that has a code to avoid fakes.

In a notice issued on Monday, Kimani said when buying seeds, farmers should look out for a sticker label in all seed packaging of 5kg and below.

“Scratch and send the secret code to 1393 through an SMS to receive feedback on the validity of the seeds,” she said.

Certified seeds have to meet the minimum national set quality standards after undergoing field inspection, laboratory tests and post control test by Kephis as per the Seeds and Plant Varieties Act (Cap 326) of the laws of Kenya.

Kimani said certified seeds can be identified by clearly labelled containers or packets with seed lot numbers.

“The slot number allows easy traceability of seed lot in the event of crop failure. They can also be identified by weight of the seeds, name of the crop species and variety, packaging date, seed company,” Kimani said.

In addition, labelling and sealing of the containers or packets is done in such a way that seeds cannot be removed without damaging the seal or label.

Kephis also cautioned farmers against purchasing seeds from open containers. She said after planting, farmers should keep the packet and receipt as they may be required as evidence in case there are problems with crop performance.

“Do not expose seeds to extreme weather conditions such as heat, moisture, direct contact with fertiliser otherwise the quality of the seed will be compromised,” the MD said.

She told Kenyans to report cases of suspect seeds to the nearest police station, Kephis office or the Ministry of Agriculture.