KENYA – The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has rolled out an elaborate program to scale up the availability of certified seeds across the country.

Dubbed ‘Mkulima Shop’, the initiative under the state agency plans to open 16 outlets across the country for farmers to access quality certified seeds.

Speaking during the opening of a Mkulima Shop at KALRO Kibo’s center in Kisumu, Felister Makini, the KALRO Deputy Director of General Crops said the move was necessitated by the rising demand for quality seeds from the research body.

Makini added that the move targets to bridge the shortage of certified seeds in the country and at the same time support farmers in planting the right varieties within their respective regions to boost food security.

According to Makini, KALRO has developed high-quality seeds and crop varieties, hence, the initiative is timely as it would enable farmers to easily access quality seeds, thereby boosting production across the country.

“We have continued to witness a demand for quality seeds from KALRO. Farmers now have an assurance that if they come to this shop at any time they will find quality KALRO varieties,” she said.

The seed varieties, developed through extensive research, she said, have been certified by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and were fit for planting in specific regions.

She added that the agency is committed to adding seed production capacities to meet the growing demand across the country.

The seeds available at the shops, she said include maize, rice, cow peas, soya beans, sunflower, cotton, sorghum, and green grams.

According to Makini, seed shortage in the nation has led to unscrupulous businessmen flooding the market with substandard seeds, threatening to derail the gains made in the sector. She therefore asked farmers to take advantage of the initiative and procure certified seeds from KALRO.

“It is paramount to ensure that farmers get the right seeds. This is because uncertified seeds come along with the challenge of pests, diseases, and other constraints which is disadvantageous to the farmers,” she said.

Makini revealed that KALRO is working closely with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and other state agencies to crack down on outlets selling uncertified seeds.

Robert Musyoki, Director of KALRO SEEDS added that measures have been put in place to scale up production to ensure farmers have access to quality certified seeds across the country.

Musyoki said that the Kisumu shop is the second to be opened after the agency opened the first shop in Mtwapa.

He added that the agency’s target to open 16 farmers’ shops is part of KARLO’s effort towards bringing certified seeds closer to farmers.

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