How to identify genuine maize seeds this planting season

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO) has warned farmers against cartels selling fake maize seeds across the country, just about two weeks to planting season.

A part from swindling from farmers in this row deals, fake seeds would lower the country's maize yiled by up to 40 per cent.
KARLO Director-General Eliud Kireger said the unscrupulous dealers are wooing farmers to buy the fake seeds on claiming they planting materials have been released by the agency through a joint research venture.
“We wish to advise farmers that KARLO has not entered into any agreement whatsoever with some of these fake collaborators going round the country conning them using our name. We urge the them to visit our institutes and centres across the country for clarification and information,” said Kireger in a press statement.
Although identifying fake maize seeds is tricky to farmers, Farmbiz Africa has prepared a check list  to guide farmers when buying any seeds from a distributor.
READ ALSO: ABC of maize farming
Buy from authorised company’s office or institution
While some companies have distributors in various parts of the country, it is safe to seek information or purchase seeds at renowned company’s office. A part from obtaining genuine seeds, farmers are likely to get detailed information about planting, yield per acre, pest and disease control from experts.
They should, however' insist on seeing the company’s certificate of registration, which must be displayed at all time, clearance certificate from KEPHIS and obtain a receipt after purchasing.
READ ALSO: Suitable maize varieties for different  regions in Kenya
Packaging
Although unscrupulous seed dealers are becoming more creative to an extent of achieving almost 70 per cent imitation of packaging by genuine brands, quality of colour and KEPHIS clearance tag distinguish them. Packages from genuine dealers have full colour and KEPHIS tags inside the bag while fake ones have dim brand shades and lack tags.
Colour
The quality of dye and stitching of the bag can also help farmers distinguish genuine seeds from fake ones. Con seed distributors basically dye commercial maize with color synonymous with a credible dealer, hence achieving poor colour pattern. A close look at a fake white seed dyed in yellow colour for instance show white strips. The general colour is normally lighter or dulls whilst the genuine seed has a full shade. Seed bags from genuine dealers are well stitched.
Poor maize production in the country, many a time, forcing the State to import from neighboring countries to fill yearly deficit.