KENYA – Private seed companies across Africa are urging governments to step up efforts in combating the rampant sale of counterfeit seeds in the market.

This call to action comes amidst concerns raised by Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi, who cautioned seed manufacturers against the distribution of fake or substandard seeds that could undermine food production.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the 24th African Seed Trade Congress in Mombasa, CS Linturi emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring farmers have access to quality seeds.

He urged the African Seed Trade Association to devise new strategies to enhance food production and safety across the continent.

Highlighting the impact of climate change on agriculture, CS Linturi stressed the importance of leveraging scientific advancements to develop seeds capable of withstanding climatic challenges.

He advocated for the production of drought-resistant and high-yielding crop varieties to mitigate the effects of climate change on farmers’ livelihoods.

The CS also underscored the significance of irrigation and water management in sustaining year-round crop cultivation, thereby contributing to food security and nutrition at the household level.

The seed companies echoed CS Linturi’s sentiments and called for harmonized seed regulations to facilitate seed movements within Africa. They emphasized the need for effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to streamline seed trade and enhance market competitiveness.

Dr. Kulani Machaba, President of the African Seed Trade Association, highlighted the challenges faced by seed companies in cross-border trade and stressed the importance of improving intra-Africa trade for the growth of the seed market.

Despite the current market size of approximately Sh445.2 billion (U.S$3.12 billion), projections indicate substantial growth to around Sh600 billion (U.S$4.2 billion) by 2023.

The upcoming congress in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2025 will continue discussions on enhancing seed regulations, promoting intra-Africa trade, and fostering sustainable market growth for crop seeds across the continent.

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