Columnists

Why selling Kenya Seed Company could hurt country’s food security

seed

The Kenya Seed Company Eldoret depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The plan to privatise the Kenya Seed Company has triggered alarm bells among various stakeholders, igniting concerns about the potential risks this move might pose to the nation's food security.

Privatisation, often hailed as a path to efficiency and innovation in this instance, appears fraught with dangerous consequences that could undermine the very foundation of Kenya's agricultural sustainability.

Kenya Seed, a public entity, has been instrumental in ensuring smallholder farmers' access to high-quality, affordable seeds — a lifeline for agricultural productivity in the country.

The proposal to privatise raises grave concerns about the future of this essential service, threatening to disrupt the delicate equilibrium that sustains food production across the nation.

At the heart of this debate lies a profound apprehension: will privatisation prioritise profit over the interests of smallholder farmers, jeopardising their access to affordable seeds and endangering their livelihoods?

The ramifications of this move could resonate far beyond mere economic considerations, striking at the core of Kenya's food security.

Privatisation of the firm raises legitimate fears of market-driven dynamics dictating seed availability and pricing.

The shift from a public service ethos to profit-oriented motives might escalate seed costs, rendering them unaffordable for small-scale farmers — a scenario detrimental to agricultural sustainability and food security.

Moreover, privatisation might disrupt the equitable distribution of seeds nationwide, disproportionately affecting marginalised and remote communities. The company's pivotal role in providing quality seeds to these regions could face jeopardy, potentially exacerbating the existing disparities in agricultural productivity.

Preserving Kenya Seed Company under public ownership aligns with the imperative of ensuring universal access to quality seeds, bolstering food security, and supporting smallholder farmers.

This shift towards privatisation risks unsettling this delicate balance and imperiling the very essence of agricultural sustainability.

The writer is a development communication specialist.