Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Trans Nzoia West DC Wilfred Kinyua as he addressed journalists at Kitale police station on behalf of the two agricultural committees after it was revealed that fake seeds were being produced without certification.
It has been established that this year's production of maize in the country might be direly affected following the circulation of fake maize seeds within Trans Nzoia County and its environs.
Trans Nzoia district security and agriculture committee has revealed to reporters that two fake seed companies have been identified with over one tonne of fake seed among other seed manufacturing materials have been recovered by Kitale police.
Addressing a press conference at Kitale police station the committee chairman Trans Nzoia West DC Wilfred Kinyua said the two committees have unveiled two manufacturers of fake seeds at around Endebes area who are being sought by the police to be brought to book.
"I would like to inform you that through our investigations as relevant committees we have known the source of this seed maize which is in Endebes and we have two suspects which we are not going to name because they are at large at now," the DC told journalists.
The two manufacturers are said to own a cottage industry in Endebes in Kwanza district where they produce the seed but the committee declined to show or lead the reporters to the illegal factory.
He said that there was enough evidence to confirm the business among it eight kilograms of Red Oxide, labels that are handwritten and fake packaging bags. At the same time, the DC pointed out that seed labels are supposed to be under the custody of Kenya Seed Company and KEPHIS and any stockist or dealer outside the two companies is deemed illegal.
One tonne of fake seeds was also said to have been recovered by the police and shall be used as evidence against the suspected stockists and manufacturers.
The committees also revealed that five seed stockists who have been participating in the business have been unveiled and have recorded statements with the police and shall soon be arraigned in court to face charges related to the crimes they have committed.
However, the committees refused to reveal the names of the stockists and the manufacturers saying it might affect they prosecution procedure if the names are made public before the case reaches the court.
Two of the stockists are said to be licensed by Kenya Seed Company while the three are not licensed hence committing crimes of selling seeds without licenses and certification from the relevant bodies.
It was also revealed that all the stockists and dealers mentioned in the investigations are based in Kitale town despite wider investigations being conducted in other towns and centers among them Eldoret, Kimilili, Chwele and Kamukuywa among others.
"We have done investigations to as far as Eldoret, Kimilili, Chwele and Kamukuywa but all the five people we mentioned are in Kitale hence nothing came forth from the other areas we investigated.
The matter was said to be technical whereby the committees need more efforts to proof how the packaging, labeling and even KEPHIS team from Nairobi to give evidence and confirm how the seeds are packaged and establish the variance between the two types of seed released to farmers.
The committees noted that KEPHIS and Kenya Seed companies have embarked on sensitization programs to ensure the farmers are aware of the fake seeds being circulated and be able to distinguish between the certified ones and fake ones whenever they are purchasing the commodity.
The fake seed circulation issue came in the limelight a few weeks ago after two stockists within Kitale town were nabbed by police and said to have been released on what was considered an amicable compromise between the stockists and police among other stakeholders within the matter.
However, despite fears from farmers that the yield of maize might be affected to a greater extent, the DC affirmed that virtually one per cent of the farmers might have been accessed by the farmers through the stockists as he noted 99% of the circulated seed to be certified.
The committees comprised of representatives from the provincial administration led by the DC, the police under the OCPD and DCIO, Kenya Seed Company and KEPHIS and ministry of Agriculture among other stakeholders of the sector.
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