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Monday, 10 February 2014

Co-operative starts supplying certified hybrid seeds

By Bob Aston
Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative society has now started supplying certified hybrid seeds to Sipili farmers in Laikipia County. The co-operative had its first seed consignment weighing 5.1 tonnes delivered on February 6, 2014. Farmers have already started buying seeds from the Co-operative at subsidized price.
Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society has been registered as agents of Kenya Seed Company Ltd. They are now buying seeds directly from Kenya Seed Company for their members. Demand for certified seeds has been on the rise owing to need to boost food production.
Kanja addressing cooperative members
Speaking during the official launch of the seeds, Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society Chairman Kanja Waweru said that the Co-operative was formed to address the problems faced by farmers which are mainly market access, lack of fertilizer and certified seeds. 
Kanja said that the Co-operative is working hard to address the issues affecting farmers. He said that the issue of certified seeds has now been addressed as they are getting certified seeds directly from Kenya Seed Company Ltd, while market access has significantly improved through Sokopepe.
The first maize seed consignment consisted of varieties like H6213, H610, H6214, H629, H626 and H520.
The Co-operative is selling a 25 Kg bag of maize seeds at Ksh 3,800, 10 Kg bag at Ksh 1,500 while 2 kg is being sold at Ksh 320.
“We are going to ensure that farmers receive certified seeds to boost crop production as well as ensuring that they are not supplied with fake seeds,” said Kanja.
Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, with support from the Ford Foundation, initiated the formation of the Co-operative to help farmers bulk produce, particularly maize. The Co-operative which was formed last year now has 230 members.
Cooperative member with a bag of maize seed
ALIN is currently offering advisory support services, capacity building, information access and empowerment to the members of the Co-operative.
“Last year i bought maize seeds which I believe were fake as my harvest was not good. I promised myself this year that I have to ensure that I buy certified maize seeds,” said Peter Mwaniki.
Seeds are a basic input that sets the potential for crop yield. Certified seeds come with a guaranteed germination, less risk of seed borne diseases and improved yield.
The Cooperative has already complied with the conditions set in the seed regulations (The seed and plant varieties Act: Cap 326, Laws of Kenya).
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