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FARMERS in Kenya’s Rift Valley are currently in a standoff with a local seed manufacturer over what the farmers believe were substandard or fraudulent seeds that cost them their harvest. Earlier this year the farmers reported that they had incurred millions in losses due to crop failures.

Though high-quality agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides can boost ag- ricultural productivity, research shows that ac- cess to such inputs re- mains low in rural Afri- can markets.

In Kenya, only 77% of hybrid maize seeds sold to farmers germinate — far below the 90% ger-
mination rate set by the government for the seeds it has certified. In a bid to improve access to these much-needed inputs, trusted village startups in Kenya, have started to supply smallholder farm- ers with quality seeds and fertilizers while re- gional partners are im- proving surveillance to weed out fake inputs.

At a recent webinar, Philip Boahen, the chief agriculture policy econo- mist at the African Devel- opment Bank, said a lack of access to quality seeds and fertilizers is one of the leading contributors to low crop yields among smallholder farmers in Africa — after erratic rains. – DEVEX

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