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Farmers Tipped On Guarding Against Fake Agro-inputs

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By Jeff Andrew Lule

Farmers have been tipped on how they can avoid buying counterfeit agro-inputs. 

This follows a recent baseline mini-survey on counterfeit agro-inputs in eastern Uganda.

The survey done by the Anti-Counterfeit Network (ACN) Africa, under the USAID Feed the Future the Future Inclusive Agricultural Markets Activity in the districts of Mbale and Sironko, had a sample of 654 smallholder farmers.

The survey, done in March 2022, indicated that 50% of the seeds and agro-inputs sold on the Ugandan market were fake.

According to agriculture ministry inspector in the department of crop inspection and certification, Fred Muzira, counterfeits do not only lead to loss of income to farmers, but it is also a threat the people’s health and the country’s economy.

Speaking during the anti-counterfeit awareness by training for magistrates and prosecutors, at Protea Hotel, in Kololo on Friday, November 4, 2022, he said the fight against counterfeit agro-inputs starts with the farmers who are the buyers.

He noted the many farmers get duped by the low prices thus buying fake inputs.

The ACN Director Legal and Corporate Affairs, Fred Muwema, remarks during the meeting. (All Photos by Jeff Andrew Lule)

“We want to tell farmers that fighting counterfeits or substandard inputs begins with them. Price should never be the goal while buying in puts. Don’t just buy an input because someone has offered you a price lower than the other. That’s a big trap that many farmers have been caught in,” he said.

Muzira advised farmers to always do a survey in about four to five shops and ascertain the average price of the products they want.

He said they should further avoid hawkers/vendors of agro-inputs but rather buy from established shops and suppliers to easily trace them if there is any problem.

“Also ensure that you get a labelled receipt of the shop or outlet where you buy any input to help in case of any issues that might arise,” Muzira added.

He advised farmers in rural areas to always reach out to the Government agricultural extension farmers for advice and where to buy genuine agro-inputs.

Muzira further revealed that the agriculture ministry is to review several laws including the Agricultural Control Act 2006, which regulates the sale and distribution of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides among others, to ensure that heavy penalties and more sentences for the perpetrators are included.

ACN director legal and corporate affairs Fred Muwema said there is a need for a collaborative approach right from the consumers to the law enforcers to easily defeat counterfeits across board.

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