The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya Seed Holding 36 Million Tonnes to Avert Shortage

The Kenya Seed Company yesterday said it has prepared more than 36 million tonnes of maize seeds to prevent seed shortage. The company's managing director, Alfred Busolo, said a total of 30 million tonnes of seeds are expected to be harvested this year. The remaining 6 million tonnes is from last year's stock, he said.

Early last year, the company experienced a seed shortage which it attributed to drought that was experienced in 2009 and 2010. Busolo said the company is collaborating with other seed producers to develope seed species resistant to the maize lethal necrosis disease. "The research may take a long time. However, we are encouraging farmers to practice crop rotation to break the disease cycle," said Busolo.

The disease has affected more than 10,000 acres of maize in South Rift, parts of Eastern and Nyanza provinces. He was addressing farmers at the Kitale VI Agro Forestry during the closing of a three-day workshop. Busolo assured the farmers that the government has developed measures to ensure the disease does not spread to the area.

He disclosed that thecompany has canceled licences of seed distributors who were found selling counterfeit maize seeds in May. "We seized fake maize seeds in Ndalu, Kimilili, Chwele and Moi's Bridge. The company has decided to de-register the dealers selling the seeds to ensure farmers plant genuine seeds," he said.

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