East African grain farmers and traders have called for a joint action to fraudulent seed sellers.
The grain farmers, traders and processors under their umbrella body, the East African Grain Council (EAGC), said it was time regional governments acted stringently on seed fraudsters to save farmers from incurring losses.
Mr Emmanuel Taban, EAGC country representative for South Sudan, said East African (EA) governments should introduce regional certificates to seed dealers to reduce on seed duplication.
“It’s time regional governments incorporated regional seed trade certificates. This will help to streamline seed trade in the region,” Mr Taban said.
He made the remarks at the annual agribusiness expo held at Kihonda Demonstration Farm in Masindi District over the weekend.
Mr Bernard Otim, EAGC board chairman, backed the idea of having a regional policy regulating seed transactions.
“We are all aware that agriculture is the main source of income for people in the region. When they incur losses through poor seed transactions, it is our region sinking in chronic poverty,” Mr Otim said.
Mr Dodah Okwang, a research technician at National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute, Serere, attributed seed duplication to overwhelming seed demand in the region.
“We need consistent inspection of seed producers and traders. Some of these people have used the high demand for seeds to con farmers. It’s an issue that needs combined efforts of EA leaders,” Mr Okwang said.
Meanwhile, there was drama when Mr Frank Asiimwe, the Pakanyi Sub- county chairman, accused the district leadership of supplying fake seeds to farmers.
“The district technical staff has, on several occasions, served fake seeds to farmers. The seeds do not germinate. The seeds are also supplied very late,” Mr Asiimwe said, leaving all district leaders, in attendance, tight-lipped on the revelation.
This year’s annual agribusiness expo, run by membership from Eastern Africa, attracted over 5,000 farmers, traders, processors and exporters from different parts of the country and across the region.