KENYA’S CROP ACT: A HIDDEN AGENDA?

The Crops Act of Kenya, 2013, regulates which crops can be cultivated for commercial purposes and what the regulatory burdens are, for those that want to enter the commercial market. This creates an exclusive commercial market for only the elite farmers who are able to comply with what the system demands of them.

In addition, The Seeds and Plant Varieties (AMENDMENT) Act, 2012 has provisions on seed certification aspects especially, plant variety listing and some very far reaching powers for seed inspectors. It is very clear that there is pressure to put in place laws to ensure seed purity and quality and that seed production is very tightly controlled (in other words, farmers will be engaged to bulk up seed and they will want to ensure that this seed is derived from the seed that has been listed in the national plant variety register and nothing else). The making of regulations for performance trials will no doubt exclude the participation of small farmer who are out of the commercial seed production systems.

There are provisions on the amendment Act that applies to the development of guidelines for GMOs -and the seed bulking of GM seeds and it is obvious that the implications farmers, agricultural biodiversity, the future of farming systems and the like are in great jeopardy.