Image Credit: KALRO
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has raised the alarm over the dire consequences faced by farmers who unwittingly fall victim to counterfeit seeds that have proliferated in the Kenyan market. Dr. Lusike Wasilwa, the director of Crops at KALRO, spoke passionately about the pressing issue, emphasizing the need for immediate action to safeguard the livelihoods of countless farmers from these deceptive practices.
Dr. Wasilwa revealed that the infiltration of counterfeit seeds into the Kenyan agricultural market has been a persistent and devastating problem. These fraudulent products have been identified as the primary cause of poor crop yields and decreased agricultural productivity, ultimately leading to elevated living costs due to a higher dependence on food imports.
Speaking at the opening of a new Mkulima shop in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, Dr. Wasilwa unveiled KALRO’s proactive approach to addressing this crisis. The organization plans to establish an impressive total of 16 additional shops across Kenya. These shops will serve as a beacon of hope for farmers, offering them access to authentic, certified, and high-quality seeds directly from KALRO.
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One startling revelation from Dr. Wasilwa is that even KALRO’s own bean variety, ‘Nyota’, has fallen victim to counterfeiting. Unscrupulous actors have taken to branding counterfeit seed bags with the KALRO and ‘Nyota’ labels, duping unsuspecting farmers into purchasing fake products. This nefarious practice not only jeopardizes farmers’ yields but also tarnishes the reputation of dedicated scientists and researchers who work tirelessly to improve agricultural practices.
Dr. Wasilwa conveyed KALRO’s unwavering commitment to combating counterfeit seeds by expanding the reach of the Mkulima shops. The organization’s ambition is to establish these vital outlets in all of its 54 centers nationwide. By doing so, KALRO aims to ensure that every farmer in Kenya can access genuine, top-quality seeds, thereby bolstering the agricultural sector and fostering food security.
The issue of counterfeit seeds is not unique to Kenya, as it has plagued farmers globally, undermining food security and economic stability. Counterfeit seeds not only pose a direct threat to farmers’ income but also impact the wider economy.