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Report recommends seed scratch tech

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

A recent report on seed market trends has recommended adoption of counterfeit prevention scratch card technology in the country to curb proliferation of fake seed on the market.

A team of Malawian experts from organisations and government departments went on a study tour in Kenya to monitor how the industry is governed there.

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Their findings further suggest that companies adopt seed insurance in order to protect farmers.

This comes as reports show that between 10 to 30 percent of seeds on the regional market are reportedly fake, a situation which has been affecting output.

The report also calls on the government, seed sector players and development partners to invest in establishing modern laboratories, office buildings, green houses, research farms, procurement of modern equipment, provision of manpower and operational costs, among others, to improve the sector.

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“The delegation also recommends that the Department of Planning in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Research Services be tasked to develop a tentative budget or investment plan for operationalisation of the National Seed Commission that should provide a model for cost recovery and revenue generation and justify a positive return on investment,” reads the report.

Controller of Agriculture Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Alexander Bulirani, welcomed the recommendations, saying they are in line with one of the ministry’s policy.

“Since 2005, when the Ministry started implementing the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, we have had problems with fake seeds,” Bulirani said.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa Country Manager, Sophie Chitedze, said agriculture productivity in the country cannot be enhanced if the seed industry was neglected.

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