In a decisive move to combat the proliferation of counterfeit seeds in the agricultural sector, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has announced a rigorous crackdown on agro vets selling fake seeds to unsuspecting farmers.

Addressing the press in Mombasa, KEPHIS Chairman Joseph M’uthari declared, “We are intensifying our efforts to ensure that farmers have access to genuine seeds for the upcoming planting season.” He revealed that several individuals have already been apprehended, with one suspect found in possession of counterfeit seeds bearing fake KEPHIS stickers.

A joint operation led to the confiscation of 18 metric tons of fake seeds, predominantly maize, resulting in the arrest and prosecution of 65 individuals nationwide. M’uthari emphasized the importance of purchasing seeds from authorized outlets licensed by KEPHIS to avoid falling victim to fraudulent practices.

Warning perpetrators of severe consequences, M’uthari stated, “Those caught selling fake seeds will face hefty fines or up to two years in prison.” The crackdown will be expanded, with increased personnel deployed to various counties ahead of the planting season to root out illicit seed vendors.

The distribution of counterfeit seeds has been linked to reduced food production and economic repercussions, prompting KEPHIS to take swift action. The crackdown follows President William Ruto’s recent warning against the sale of fake agricultural inputs, underscoring the government’s commitment to safeguarding the agricultural sector and protecting farmers from unscrupulous practices.