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Clearance delays at port cause seed shortage

By Nicholas Waitathu
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
Seed shortage. Photo/Courtesy

Seed traders are contemplating pulling out of Kenya due to clearance delays at the Port of Mombasa.

Seeds Trade Association of Kenya (Stak) members blamed the recent change in the inspection mandate from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs). 

The traders say Kebs has been delaying clearance of seeds imported into the country even after the importers present crucial documents including the certificate of conformity from the country of origin.

Stak says the delay has contributed to the shortage of seeds in the local market.

Cost of business

Stak chairman Kassim Owino said that some seed importers are contemplating pulling out of the Kenyan market as the clearance procedure takes long and is too rigid, thus increasing the cost of doing business.

“Already some subsidiaries of foreign companies based in Kenya are considering closing shops. All along quality and standards of seeds has the responsibility of Kephis but we do not know what informed the government’s decision.

Clearing of seed consignments has been taking more than a month leading to scarcity of seed varieties in the local market,” said Owino.

Owino made the remarks during the opening of a two day conference organized by Staj at Kalro.

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