Seed firms venture South on land size

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Seed firms venture South on land size

Kassim Owino
Kassim Owino, Agri SeedCo MD and STAK Vice Chairman. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Seed farms in Kenya are moving to Tanzania and Southern Africa following land subdivision that has seen farms become unviable.

The chairperson of the Seed Trade Association of Kenya (STAK), Kassim Owino, said the move, which has negatively impacted on seed production, will have detrimental effects in the country if the issue of subdivision is not addressed.

According to STAK, some of the players that have expanded operations to other countries include SeedCo Company, Monsanto and Panna firms. Other multinationals have also moved to southern African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

He said some seed processors have been forced to import seed in the country because of the shortage in order to meet the demand locally.

“Land subdivision is threatening seed production here in Kenya forcing some of the companies to move to other regions seeking more land for production,” said Mr Kassim.

Mr Kassim wants the government to set aside special zones that will only be used for seed production to ensure enough stocks.

Land subdivision has become a major issue because of the expanding population that is eating into productive agricultural farms.

Mr Kassim was speaking during the release of The African Seed Access Index report, an event that brought together stakeholders from across African countries.

The study was conducted in 2018 to appraise the structure and economic performance of Kenya’s seed sector.

It evaluates the enabling environment necessary to build a vibrant formal seed sector, focusing on four grain and legume crops important to food security in Kenya – maize, sorghum, bean, and cowpea – the cultivation of which covers about 21 percent of the country’s arable land.

Kenya Markets Trust said it is committed to support the African Seed Access Index, which it says is critical to seed market system development in Kenya.

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