Linturi puts on notice agrovets selling counterfeit seeds, substandard farm inputs

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi speaking in Nakuru County on January 31, 2024. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Farmers across the country have been advised not to be cheated by dishonest seed traders who sell fake seeds and other substandard farm inputs.

Agriculture and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi 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. In particular, here in Makueni 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 Linturi.

He spoke in Makueni after touring Utangwa Irrigation scheme facilities where at least 120 farmers are benefiting from irrigated farming practices. He also launched three grain dryers for Makueni, Machakos and Kitui Counties.

He asked the Kenya Plant Heath Inspectorate Service (Kephis) to move in speed to ensure investigations on various shops that are reaping big from local farmers unaware of what they were purchasing.

“The Kenya Plant Heath Inspectorate Service (Kephis) has the mandate of licensing and inspecting stocks from various agro vets to ensure they are certified. Therefore, this inspectorate will move with speed to do random checks on the seeds in shelves so that our people are not milked dry out of seeds that are yielding nothing at the end,” Linturi said.

He said that although most of the regions in the Country had managed huge food production, Linturi noted that the fruits of distributing fertilizer were getting watered down by the uncertified seeds.

“Subsidised fertilizer has helped farmers immensely in ensuring there is an increase in food production. The country has improved maize production from 34m bags to 60 m bags in the last rain season,” Linturi said

To avert the situation, Makueni governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr asked the national government to ensure they have set up various depots of Kenya Seeds Company for farmers to get quality and verified seeds.

“As we condemn those stealing from our farmers from these fake seeds let’s also have the same government open a seeds company in Makueni. We are big producers of various commodities and that is why we have even offered land for the construction of cold rooms for our farm produce,” said Mutula

He asked the national government to help them in setting prices for mango produce to rescue farmers from getting exploited by middlemen.“After exporting these mangoes they are getting sold at Sh2000 per kilogram. We want to have an arrangement on our selling prices directly from the farms,” Mutula added

The farmers are reaping big from farming Sukuma wiki, and cabbages, among other vegetables.

The tour of Makueni saw the CS flag off 3 grain driers where Makueni, Kitui, and Machakos will each receive one. He also commissioned the distribution of sunflower seeds and subsidized fertilizer as farmers prepared for the April-long rains.

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