The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Lorries Ferrying ADC Seeds Stuck in Poor Kwanza Roads

Poor roads in Kwanza are making it impossible to transport maize seeds from farms to Kenya Seed for processing. Lorries ferrying millions of kilos of seeds by the Agriculture Development Corporation are stuck on the road for the last one week.

The firm plants at least 30 per cent of the total maize in the country, while the rest is planted by the Kenya Seed and individual farmers. ADC managing director William Kirwa says almost 10 million kilos out of 11 million of seed maize is yet to be transported.

He said the seeds on the lorries have started to germinate because of heavy rains. "We want the government to use military lorries to help in transporting the seeds. We have so far transported a small percentage as the roads make transportation impossible," Kirwa said.

Kirwa was addressing journalists at the Kenya Seed's premises in Endebess. He was with his Kenya seed counterpart Willy Bett. "Seed issue is neither about ADC nor Kenya Seed, but the seed is a national issue, if the government does not act immediately, then the country may face seed shortage," he said.

He said ADC pays Nzoia County Council Sh6 million while the Kenya Seed is taxed Sh10 million annually and wondered why the council has failed to improve the roads in the area.

Kirwa said ADC expects 11 million maize seeds this year. ADC has resorted to using tractors to transport seeds, a method he said is expensive and slow.

He said if the rains continue, more of the seeds will continue to germinate while on Lorries and such seeds turns into rejects. Bett said, Kenya seed had put measures of ensuring the country has enough seeds for the next planting season.

Meanwhile, farmers and residents of Kwanza constituency mounted on their demonstration protesting poor roads for the third day. Carrying placards with words"Kwanza si Kenya", they threatened to block any trader and government agencies from ferrying commodities until the roads are properly constructed.

Agnes Chesang, Antony Chemakwila and Martin Okumu also said that last week, two patients lost their lives due to delays to reach at the hospitals caused by impassable roads.

"We have seeds in Kwanza, wheat, maize, we may block the road completely to compel the government to first construct the roads before allowing anyone from accessing the commodities" said Okumu.

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