FAKE and illegal seeds have flooded the local market with serious repercussions on the smallholder farmers’ production and profitability, the Zambia Seed Trade Association (ZASTA) has said.
The fake seeds are usually sold to unsuspecting small-scale farmers while some genuine seed are illegally imported into the country without permission by the Seed Control and Certification Institute.
Writing in the latest edition of The Zambian Farmer magazine, ZASTA says this seed is bought by farmers because it is readily available.
ZATSA warns that fake and illegal seed undermined consumer confidence in brand names and reputation.
The fake seed, which has dominated the market, deprived legitimate companies market share and revenue and introduced pests and diseases.
The association explained that it was not easy to distinguish between genuine and fake seed but that there were some guidelines which could be used for identification.
It said in grading, fake seed differed in sizes of grains found in the same bag.
Packaging material for fake seed was usually of poor quality as compared to the genuine ones.
According to ZASTA, the seed pockets sometimes could be genuine but with wrong seed in it and poorly labelled.
The association said there was no single solution that could be employed to deal with the fake and illegal seed matter, adding that the entire value chain faced a number of challenges.
The association advised every player in the seed industry to vigorously commit themselves and get involved in the fight against fake and illegal seed.
ZATSA also said promoting seed production and sales of other crops such as sunflower could help to reduce the trend.