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Land subdivisions push Kenya Seed to seek external production

The Kenya Seed Company is eyeing external production zones as massive land-sub-division hampers commercial farming.

KSC Managing Director Fred Oloibe said the company is looking into external production zones in Uganda and Tanzania, as well as expanding the Rwanda plant to compensate for lost markets due to extensive land sub-divisions.

Oloibe on September 4 said land subdivisions hampered commercial seed production by taking up space that could otherwise be used for large-scale seed production under mechanised agriculture.

“The reason we’re doing this is to address Kenya’s land problem.

“We want to produce more seeds in Tanzania for that market, and because Tanzania is fast and a member of the East African Community, we should be able to produce from there in the future for the Kenyan market,” Oloibe said at the company’s field day at its Elgon Downs farm.

He emphasised the importance of ensuring sustainable seed production in Uganda for both domestic markets and neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he said lacked sufficient seeds.

Oloibe said while KSC is still the largest seed producer in the region, there is still room for more products once measures such as capacity building in processing, quality assessment, and production are implemented.

The MD said once the measures are implemented, competition with other seed-producing companies will be “child’s play”.

He said competition from other seed companies exists not only in terms of market share, but also in terms of seed production zones, and that KSC needs to be more concerned about contracted seed growers. Oloibe challenged the company’s production department to find innovative ways to work with contracted seed-growing farmers, such as long-term contracts and a continuous review of pricing to address rising production costs.

The MD added that this would ensure their market position and would also be in line with the government’s national agenda on food security, as the company plays a role in the government’s food security strategy.

He emphasised the role of Simlaw Seed – a family of the Kenya Seed Company – in ensuring the availability of quality certified seeds to farmers across the country.

Oloibe said all departments in the company had done much to ensure the company’s growth, adding that financially, Kenya Seed was far ahead of many others given the numerous challenges it faces.

“Every year, we’ve improved our production level and managed to expand into new areas of production.”

The MD said due to the good rains this year, the company expects to produce close to 30 million kilos of seed against a market of about 35 million kilos, and that the company remains the region’s leader. His sentiments were echoed by the company’s Human Resource head, Fred Malakwel, who emphasised the company’s critical role in ensuring food sustainability.

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