The 2019 Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa is made up of a mix of leading regional and global companies in field crop and vegetable seeds. The insights below are based on publicly available information and information disclosed by the companies on engagement.
Counterfeit seed affects the business viability of both farmers and seed companies. An estimated 30% of the seed on the Ugandan market alone is fake, according to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. In response, index companies have developed multiple strategies to limit the circulation of counterfeit seed, mostly through improved seed packages.
About 60% of companies have implemented measures to address counterfeit seed, particularly in Uganda and Kenya. East African Seed, FICA Seeds, Equator Seeds and Kenya Highland Seed use an e-tag system, Kakasa, set up to help farmers purchase genuine agro-inputs.
This system, which is free of charge to farmers, relies on a unique scratch code that the customer can access after purchasing the product. After the code is submitted via SMS, the customer receives a message confirming the package as genuine.
In addition, companies including Equator Seeds, Kenya Seed Company and Technisem collaborate with authorities to fight counterfeits. Seed Co reports working with seed trade associations to monitor counterfeit issues at a broader level. Other companies use more traditional methods, such as tamper-proof packaging (NASECO) and shiny, hard-to-fake stickers (East-West Seed and Seed Co).