Malawi’s prominent hybrid seed company SeedCo. has asked government to amend the Seed Act to include deterrent penalties arguing that currently the Act encourages seed counterfeiters to continue their business to the detriment of Malawians.
“People are making million by making fake seeds and yet our courts fine them MK2000 or Mk5000. They will just pay off and continue with their illegal business. Malawi in general is losing out and us as bona fide company with a good track record we are also losing out because our image is being dented,” SeedCo Malawi sales and distribution manager Gregory Madeya lamented.
Madeya told Nyasa Times in an interview on Friday that his company has captured the fraudsters on several occasions with the help of the Police but said they always get disappointed because of lenient penalties courts give.
He noted that the Seed Act, a colonial relic, is weak and needs urgent revision.
“The Act is neither protecting the seed industry nor Malawians at the moment. In fact, in the Act there is no mention of fake or counterfeit seeds because I coming up with the Act they never thought of seed fraudsters coming on the scene,” Madeya said.
Madeya also said the presence of fake seeds on the market would also counter the Presidential Initiative on Hunger and Poverty since people will not realize anything for their toils hence live in perpetual poverty.
He estimated that more than 200 metric tonnes of fake seeds found their way into Malawian markets each year.
Madeya said the fake seeds were manufactured from Nsundwe, Namitete to Mchinji in the Central Region and Mulanje and Thyolo in the Southern Region.
Last month the Kalondolondo project unearthed a syndicate by some agro-dealer companies who sold fake seeds in the government’s Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme in Mulanje district.
The agro-dealer companies targeted Seed-co’s SC 403 also known as Kanyani and legume CG7. The seeds did not germinate.
Madeya said his company’s investigations revealed that the culprits were some agro-dealers whom the company denied the dealership for their products.
“Seed Co has very good seed varieties with high yields per acre or hectare. Yet fake seeds have dismals yields and also affect farmers productivity,” said.
SeedCo, support the government in Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :