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Tuesday, 29 May 2018 06:22

Mwanamvekha warns seed companies on counterfeit seeds

Written by  Tione Andsen
Mwanamvekha inspects some of the seeds on display at the launch - Pic by Roy Nkosi Mwanamvekha inspects some of the seeds on display at the launch - Pic by Roy Nkosi

Lilongwe, May 29, 2018: Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha has warned Seed Companies in the country that they risk being closed down if found selling fake or counterfeit seeds to farmers.

He sounded the waning Monday during the launch of National Seed Policy at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Mwanamvekha pointed out that government would not tolerate such malpractices because it has negative effects on production and the famers are always on the receiving end.

“Agro-dealers who are servicing various Seed Companies in the country are the ones mostly indulging in such activities. They sell counterfeit seeds on your behalf once found government will no deal with them but the Seed Company involved in the process and will be de-registered in the country for violating laws,” he stated.

The Minister called for proper monitoring and coordination among the Seed Companies to ensure that the seeds being supplied to the markets are of high quality so that farmers should be able to benefit from it once they use it.

The Minister said Seed Companies have a responsibility of ensuring that they produce better quality seed that would be of value to farmers always and the National Seed Policy would bring sanity in the industry..

“Most seed companies’ sole depend on Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) in which government implements for their markets. You have a better market for over 5 millions farmers in which you can sale your seeds. This year’s, you are lack that the government budget allocation has increased the number of beneficiaries from 900,000 to 1.5 million which is way too far low as compared to the already existing market,” Mwanamvekha  explained. 

He said farmers largely depend on high quality seeds for their productivity and they value much hybrid seeds and to be given a raw deal is unacceptable in the seed industry and the new seed policy would address this.

Mwanamvekha urged Seed Companies to make use of the new seed policy so that its implementation should produce better results for the country.

Chairperson of Seed Traders Association in Malawi, John Lungu said Seed companies are glad that the new Seed Policy is now in place to regulate seed management in the country.

He said the policy need to respond to the current needs to help farmer’s access high quality seeds in the markets and help them increase their productivity.

Director Agriculture Research Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Wikisani Makumba said the country has over 28 Seed Companies.

He said the mushrooming of the Seed Companies has come about due to government’s new policies, development of reforms and conducive environment to conduct business in the seed industry.

“These companies have been looking to the review of the outdated 1993 Seed Policy so that it addresses some of the challenges they were facing in conducting their business in the country. We are hoping that the companies will comply with the new Policy in order to help the agriculture sector,” Makumba pointed out. 

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Grey Nyandule pointed out that Seed Companies should be aware that that they are now operating in a globe trade where competition for products such as seeds is high.

“Stakeholders need to work together in all sphere and should strive to produce quality seed varieties of high yielding capabilities in  order to compete at the globe market instead of just depending on the old varieties,” he advised.

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