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Kenyan seed firms eye higher sales as Comesa adopts mobile tracking

crop disease
A farmer uproots maize affected by a crop disease in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan-based seed producers could benefit from higher sales after 21 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) member-countries sanctioned adoption of seed tracking technology mPedigree.

Speaking during a Comesa Secretariat training for seed companies on ordering, use and trading using the Comesa seed labels and certificates in Zambia, mPedigree Global Strategy director Selorm Branttie said this will at the same time open up a market of up to 80 million smallholder farmers.

“The system will assist the region to not only eliminate cases of fake agro-inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and crop protection products but also boost trade in quality and improved certified seed,” said Mr Branttie.

At the Comesa Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) Seed meeting, Kenya’s Industry and Agriculture director Thierry Kalonji welcomed the development saying food production across Africa will gradually increase with farmers reaping handsome returns from using genuine inputs sourced from the region.

“Every seed package will have a Comesa sticker whereby Comesa will work with the National Seed Authorities to ensure that fake agro-inputs like seeds are eradicated from the market,” he said.

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Mr Branttie said farmers across the region will be able to trace both source and certification of agro-inputs from their feature phones at no cost thereby contributing to the fight against illicit seed trade estimated to be worth billions of shillings.

Kenya Seed Company, Western Seed Company and Kenya Highlands Seed, East African Seed Company and Bayer East Africa named last year as the most responsive to smallholder farmer seed needs in Eastern and Southern Africa through use of mPedigree to track movement of products across the region.

Since its introduction in Kenya in 2017, seed companies have registered higher sales with farmers witnessing better yields from use of certified seeds.

The latest Access to Seeds Index survey shows the maize seed is the most developed and multiplied product.

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