COMESA to label seeds

Saturday January 26 2019

Labelling seeds will help weed out counterfeit

Labelling seeds will help weed out counterfeit seeds. File photo  

By Monitor Reporter

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has launched plans which will see all local seed companies in member state countries sell seeds branded with the trading block logo to shield farmers from fake and uncertified products. Several uncertified products which have flooded markets, are blamed for dwindling the growers’ output.

According to statistics by Food and Agriculture Organisation, Kenyans consume 100,000 bags of maize a day, yet their maize yields are very low, averaging 1.66 MT/ha, compared to 2.5 MT/ha for Uganda and 3.42 MT/ha for Ethiopia.

Companies will also have unlimited access within the Comesa region after member states endorsed a common label for certified seeds.

Comesa regional seed programme coordinator Dr John Mukuka says the labelling was necessary to weed out counterfeit seeds from the market and improve production after unsuspecting farmers recorded poor yields from the fake products.
“Common label will help local farmers access quality certified seeds and at the same time promote trade among member states,” he said.

Speaking during a high level consultative workshop ahead of the proposed implementation of the harmonised seed regulation, Dr Mukuka said at least 80million farmers within the 21 Comesa member states will benefit from the venture.

“We have ordered printing of Comesa seed labels that will be used by companies so that they can cross the border without being tested at country level,” he said.