Wednesday March 23 2016

Farmers warned against fake seeds

An agro-input shop in Iganga. Farmers are

An agro-input shop in Iganga. Farmers are advised to buy seeds and other planting materials as well as inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides from trusted dealers. PHOTO BY CHRISTINE KATENDE 


As the planting season nears, farmers have been cautioned to be aware and also refrain from buying fake seeds, which are likely to be flooded by unscrupulous and unlicensed companies as well as traders on the market.
“Farmers should be wary of the quality of seeds they purchase because many people are selling fake seeds to them without their knowledge. The farmers may not be aware thus these unscrupulous dealers take that advantage of them,” said Edinandi Piringo, the LC3 chairperson, Kamonkoli, while calling for government action on the matter by strengthening the Seed Act.
“This remains a big challenge, and demands concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address this pertinent issue,” he added.

Farmers on the alert
The warning comes as many farmers especially in rural areas fall prey these unscrupulous dealers. Many of them may not take into consideration the quality of seeds that would do better but end up buying fake or poor seeds.
Use of such seeds eventually results in low crop productivity and less yields during harvest.
So, local leaders have stressed that there is need for farmers to be on the alert.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) unveiled measures “to provide for the minimum standards to regulate and control production, processing, sale, importation, exportation and testing and further to provide for the certification of seeds and for matters incidental to or connected therewith.”
A new technology has been introduced where farmers will be required to send a short text message to the special number inscribed on seed packets to enable farmers check details of seeds they procure.

Certain risks
Arthur Wakko Mboizi, chairman, Budaka District, encourages the farmers to buy certified seeds from licensed dealers to boost both income and food security.
“Farmers should be wary of imitations. A pack of seeds should have a visible company design, with product description, weight declaration, and a machine-printed label,” he said.
Poor quality seed face certain risks of the crops not performing to expectation. Such seed has no assurance of germination, it is not graded and is susceptible to disease. In contrast, certified seed like maize produced by a reputable seed company, has a guaranteed germination of 90 per cent.