Home NEWS County News Counterfeit maize worth Ksh 13M seized in Nakuru

Counterfeit maize worth Ksh 13M seized in Nakuru

The fake seeds were seized in a timber yard within Njoro Sub-County in Nakuru

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have confiscated 13,000 packets of counterfeit maize seeds worth Ksh 13 million.

The fake seeds were seized in a timber yard within Njoro Sub-County in Nakuru, said County Commission Lyford Kibaara.

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Mr Kibaara said it was unfortunate that some unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of the planting season to package and sell uncertified seeds to farmers.

The administrator called on Farmers to be careful and not purchase seeds not certified by Kephis. He stated that most of them don’t germinate while others give poor yields.

Mr Kibaara spoke on Wednesday at DCI offices in Nakuru where detectives also displayed 18 bags of maize, 34,708 fake Kenya Seed Company (KSC) stickers, sewing machines and packaging materials which were seized at the timber yard.

Seeds confiscated during the raid were the Hybrid 6213 maize variety which had been packaged ready for distribution to farmers in various parts of the country.

The seeds had been sealed and labelled to deceive farmers they are fit for planting.

“All seeds should bear Kephis label and further have a seal indicating the date of production and as well as the lifespan,” added the County Commissioner.

Mr Kibaara vowed that stern action will be taken against the crooked dealers and agrovets involved in the fake seed syndicate to serve as an example to others with similar intentions.

The County Commission pledged that National Government Administration Officers will work with National Police Service, Kephis, licensed seed companies and other stakeholders to ensure supply of quality seeds.

“The government will not allow crooks and companies to mislead farmers by selling them counterfeit seeds. We’ll put in place stringent measures to save farmers,” said the official.

Mr Kibaara also disclosed that the State was also on high alert to avert instances where criminal elements distribute fake fertilizers to farmers and agrovets. He noted that a ring dealing in fake fertilizers had been dismantled in Gilgil Sub-County and culprits arraigned before a court of law.

Head of Seed Certification and Plant Variety Protection at Kephis Mr Simon Maina said their officers will continue inspecting seeds sold in the country to ensure farmers are not duped by unscrupulous traders.

Mr Maina advised farmers across the country not to be cheated by dishonest seed traders who sell fake seeds and other substandard farm inputs.

He said one suspect who was arrested at the timber yard and identified as Stephen Gicharu was charged on Wednesday at the Nakuru law courts for contravening the Seeds and Plant Varieties Act.

The Act provides standards for production, processing and marketing of certified seeds.

“KEPHIS will conduct nationwide surveillance to check whether any of the fake seed has been distributed. I also ask anyone with information on this case or any similar incident to report to any of our offices, the police or the nearest County department of Agriculture office. Any report will be treated with confidence and acted on immediately,” stated the official

To confirm if one has bought genuine seeds, Mr Maina advised farmers to check the presence of the KEPHIS label on the seed package.

Seed packages less than five kilos in weight have sticker labels. The stickers can be scratched and the number sent to Unstructured Supplementary Service Data code (USSD)1393 as a message for confirmation.

“Sending the message is free and in case the seed is not genuine, call the number provided on the label (0707891000) for assistance by KEPHIS staff,” he said.

Mr Maina said unscrupulous Agro vet Dealers in the country have been misleading farmers and downgrading governments’ quest to have enough food production in the country.

“We will work day and night to deal with unscrupulous agro vets that are stocking fake seeds. The safety of our food starts from the planting stage. Farmers invested heavily in their farms but what we have witnessed is not good since poor harvests and low crop production is designed by such people,” said the Head of Seed Certification and Plant Variety Protection.

Mr Maina pointed out that the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) has the mandate of licensing and inspecting stocks from various agro vets to ensure they are certified.

He affirmed that the inspectorate will move with speed to do random checks on the seeds in shelves so that Kenyans are not milked dry out of seeds that are yielding nothing at the end.

He said that although most of the regions in the Country had potential for huge food production, the fruits of farmers were getting watered down by the un-certified seeds.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) Managing director Theophilus Mutui has since warned that agrovet dealers found selling fake seeds face a fine of up to Ksh 1 million and a jail term of up to two years in a new move by the government to get rid of unscrupulous traders in the market.

Mutui stated the inspectorate has received complaints from farmers over sale of fake seeds by dealers.

“We have had instances of fake seeds sold in some countries, especially in grain basket regions by unscrupulous traders thus affecting food production. In the recent past we managed to arrest the situation in one of the counties in the Rift region,” he stated.

Mutui added that the inspectorate will be working with the police and other State agencies to flush out unscrupulous individuals trading counterfeit seeds to unsuspecting farmers.

Farmers in some regions have been complaining of sale of substandard seeds, claiming the same is contributing to low food production.

He said Seed and Plant Varieties Act Cap 326 of 2012 stipulates stiff penalties for those arrested dealing in fake seeds which includes a fine of up to Ksh 1 million and a jail term of up to two years if found guilty

Dennis Rasto
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