The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) will increase its workforce by 12.5 percent this year to boost the fight against fake seeds and monitor plant diseases.
The parastatal regulates the quality of seeds to boost production and prevent the spread of diseases.
Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui said the agency has been cleared to recruit 50 new workers to address staff shortage.
The parastatal that is in charge of agricultural inputs and produce quality has about 400 workers.
“We are not where we ought to be (regarding staff count) and we are recruiting through replacement so that we can have enough staff to carry out inspection of plants as well as seeds,” he said. The Kephis boss was speaking during the fourth International Phytosanitary Conference in Nairobi.
“Kephis has about 400 staff and we recently recruited 66 new inspectors who we have deployed in different parts of Kenya. We have also got approval to recruit an additional 50 staff,” said Prof Mutui.
Kephis has officers at various points of exit and entry including the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for testing of plant material being brought into the country.
Kenya is a major importer of plant material from various countries. For instance, Kephis issued 47,638 plant import permits in the financial year to June 2020.
“During this period, 3,051,939.6951 tonnes of plants, plant products, and regulated articles were imported into Kenya. The imports were cleared through JKIA, Kitale, Kisumu, and all border point offices,” it said.