By Buumba Chimbulu
THE Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) has warned farmers to refrain from using untested and unregistered seeds as they damage fields.
SCCI senior seeds officer, Mudenda Sikwangala, urged farmers to ensure that they bought seeds from registered agro dealers or licensed seed dealers to avoid using insufficiently tested new crop varieties that may damage their fields.
Ms. Sikwangala explained that the use of tested and certified seeds would benefit the farmers as their farm returns were expected to increase.
She was speaking in an interview in Lusaka at the just ended 91st Agriculture and Commercial Show which was held under the theme: “Promoting a Green Economy.”
“My appeal is that farmers should know that there are dangers in buying uncertified seeds, farmers need to make sure that where they are buying seed, the seller is a registered agro dealer and they have a license by SCCI and that the seed that they are buying is correctly packaged and labelled.,” she said.
She said dealers found guilty of selling illegal seed could be prosecuted with the commodity confiscated.
Ms. Sikwangala said businesses for guilty dealers was in certain occasions closed down.
She emphasised that SCCI was committed to providing farmers with certified seed which would enable them have maximum quality yields and reduce on environmental risks.
Ms. Sikwangala said the institute had a robust programme to sensitise farmers on illegal seed issues and how they could identify what is illegal seed and what is certified seed.
Meanwhile, Ms. Sikwangala said SCCI had this year released few potato and wheat seed varieties and that it was expected to release some more rain fed seed varieties next month.
Ms Sikwangala said this was to ensure that farmers were availed with quality and certified seeds across the country.
“This year we have a few new varieties, as you may know, seed varieties are released twice a year, in February for irrigated crops, and September for rain fed crops,” she said.