The shops were closed yesterday by TOSCI officials in southern highlands zone, who made an impromptu inspection in the two regions. The idea is to ensure that farmers buy genuine farm inputs.
Senior TOSCI official in southern highlands zone, Peter Nasari said that in the two regions they inspected 130 and closed down ten shops, which were operating against Tanzania’s seed law (Seeds Act (No. 18) enacted in 2003.
Nasari said that the team also inspected seeds warehouses and educated people and agro-dealers on the importance of operating in line with laws governing the seeds industry.
“We believe that through these operations, and education we’re providing to farmers helps them to address challenges facing farmers such as buying fake seeds, which in turn lead farmers into huge losses,” he said.
He, however, urged farmers to keep receipts of seeds bought so that they can be used as evidence once problems occurred.
Inspector from TOSCI headquarters, Emmanuel Mwakatobe, warned agro-dealers who sell seeds without being registered to stop from doing so.
According to Mwakatobe, any seeds that are to be sold to farmers were that which had been certified by TOSCI including being labelled on their packages.
“The law will take its course for anyone caught selling uncertified seeds,” the official said, warning people behind the dubious businesses to look for alternative jobs.
In Tanzania, he said there are more than 100 seed varieties, hence farmers have a wide-range of choices, “but their choices should be for the certified ones.”
Some of the agro-dealers advised farmers to buy seeds from the registered shops in order to get away with fake seeds.
One of the agro-dealers, Agnes Kessy, encouraged farmers to buy seeds with TOSCI label.
Fake seeds remained a serious challenge for years, plunging thousands of farmers into losses in the southern highlands regions as fake seeds fail to germinate.