On April 8, 2022, , a news report stated that the Kenyan government might have passed a law that may work against local farmers. According to the report the sale of un=indexed (?) seeds is now prohibited. Please read on
Farmers will now be heavily fined or face a jail term if found guilty of selling uncertified seeds.
This is according to the recently enacted Seeds and Plant Varieties Act of 2012, Part 2(8) on restrictions on sales of seeds of unindexed plant varieties.
This new law introduced by the government has placed restrictions on the informal seed system, in a bid to ensure that all seeds sold or distributed in the country have been certified.
Technically, the Kenyan Seed and Plant Varieties Act criminalizes the selling or sharing of indigenous seeds.
Those found guilty risk a 6-month jail term or a fine of Sh20,000 or both.
Reacting to the news, Kenyans have criticised the move with most (rightfully) viewing it as a tactic by the elite to weaponize food insecurity in Kenya.
In neighbouring countries like Tanzania and Uganda, a farmer is free to sell or share seeds as they wish.
How do some of these bills go through parliament without much debate?
You might hear them give excuses about how we will use new advanced technologies in agriculture until you read the details and shock hits you.
Just like the new legislation on data privacy that reads like an affirmation for free data mining by big tech firms like Safaricom.
Bearing in mind that in the Monsanto, Bayer or Syngenta model you are not allowed to plant seeds from your last harvest.
They sue you if you do.
You must buy seeds every season.
This law is written to create a market for seed companies.
Appreciation to Mariam Mayet(Acbio)
Dele Fapohunda PhD
16 April, 2022