Parliament has passed the Seed Bill that will help fight uncertified seed on the market and protect farmers in the country.
The Bill intends to make provision for the establishment and operation of the Malawi Seed Regulatory Authority, regulate the release and registration of crop varieties as well as the production, processing, certification and sale of certified seed in Malawi and the importation and exportation of seed.
Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the Bill, saying it will help protect farmers and bring sanity in the agricultural sector.
In an interview, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima commended the MPs for passing the Bill, saying it will help fight proliferation of uncertified seed in the country and also promote food security.
The deputy minister said farmers get duped through fake seed.
“The Seed Bill is important to the ministry because as we are looking to improve productivity of our crops, this is going to allow our farmers access authentic seed, seed that is certified, seed that works with their hard work,” she said.
On his part, Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Food Security vice-chairperson Ulemu Chilapondwa said the Bill provides stiff fines for those found selling fake seed.
The penalty is a K30 million fine or in default 20 years imprisonment.
“This will help bring sanity in the agriculture sector in as far as seed is concerned. We have had cases where farmers have been sold fake seed. We have had cases where people have failed to claim their resources after being sold fake seed.
“If police came in to arrest those who had sold farmers fake seed, there was no proper law to refer to. So, this Seed Bill will help bring sanity in the agriculture sector,” he said.
Malawi is an agricultural-based economy. Farmers rely on seed to produce crops but of late they have been facing challenges with fake seeds on the market which affect yield.
Some of seed on the market is not certified and it affects yield.
Parliament last week extended time to accommodate debate on the Seed Bill, the Private Public Partnership Bill and other private members business.“`¶