THE Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) has seized 116 kg of maize seed worth K1,740 from a Chinsali trader for tampering with the package.
SCCI seed inspector Dennis Tonga based at Misamfu Agricultural Research Station in Kasama confiscated the seed from Zemech Agro Inputs at the weekend during a seed inspection operation in Chinsali district.
Mr Tonga said he had seized the maize seed because the trader had abrogated the sales regulations by removing the seed from its company packaging material and re-packaging it into smaller unlabelled plastic bags.
He explained that packages from seed companies always carried information that included the seed variety, the tester and certifier of that seed and the seed expiry date, adding that allowing re-packaging of seed in ordinary plastic bags was a recipe for authenticating illegal seed trade.
Mr Tonga said SCCI was mandated to protect the agricultural sector from unscrupulous seed trade that included the sale of uncertified painted grain and expired seed; and this was the reason why all seed companies ensure that their packaging complied with SCCI standards by including necessary information.
He said it was a legal requirement for seed traders to possess a seed trading licence and abide by the regulations that govern the trade in seed.
Mr Tonga has cautioned traders to desist from procuring big seed packages from seed companies but later break them down into smaller packages to maximise profits.
“There is no need for traders to purchase 50 kilogramme packages and start repackaging them into two kg packs because seed companies were able to directly supply them with the two kg packages which carry all the required information,” Mr Tonga said.
He advised traders to procure seed packaging in quantities that are appropriate to their clients’ requirements.