Farmers demand heavy penalties for producers of fake farm inputs

Farmers in Migori County now want the government to impose harsh penalties on companies and individuals who trade in counterfeit farm inputs.

In a statement to the press, the farmers led by Wilson Nyange, warned that sustained production and distribution of fake seeds and fertilizers could sabotage Kenya’s economy.

We are witnessing a situation where fake seeds and fertilizers are likely to escalate poverty, starvation and death of innocent lives, thus hurting the economy and the health of citizens, said Mr. Nyange in Rongo town.

He said the government should amend the law to provide for harsh penalty for such business people to protect farmers from incurring losses as a result of unknowingly investing huge resources in procurement of bad seeds and fertilisers.

Nyange, who is the chairman of South Nyanza Small Farmers Association (SONSFA) asked the government through its relevant agencies to force manufacturing companies to deploy security features on fertilizer and maize, or any other food crop seed packaging bags using modern technology to deter imitation of genuine brand.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) must exercise its full authority to ensure that farmers are guarded from receiving bad seeds and fertilizers, he added.

The farmers’ appeal came in the wake of reports that unscrupulous stockists were selling counterfeit maize seeds and fertilisers to unsuspecting farmers in the region.

Nyange said whereas such counterfeit merchants were a danger to the small farmers, they were also denying the government income since they do not pay taxes for the goods.

He said the state must now roll out a massive sensitization programme across the counties on the dangers posed by imported counterfeit goods with a view to exposing the bad tricks of the counterfeit merchants.

Saying that food crop cultivation need to be made lucrative, Nyange urged the government to supplement agricultural inputs and find market for surplus food production to guarantee maximum returns to the farmer. This, he noted, will ensure the farers sustain their efforts towards improved food production.

Source: Kenya News Agency