Farmers across the country have been advised to take the fight against fake agro-input products both on the farm and the market seriously.
According to farm input manufacturer, Bukoola Chemical Industries, vigilance is needed on the side of the farmers, working with the government to fight counterfeits and substandard inputs.
Peter Kyabagu, the managing director said although anti-counterfeit laws exist, counterfeiters are increasingly finding ways of breaching them, without minding the consequences on the farmers and consumers, and must therefore be stopped.
“We need a combined effort, but especially the farmers, who must be careful about what insecticides, fungicides, bactericides, immune boosters, fertilizers, anti-stress and herbicides they purchase, since the life of humans and animals entirely depends on what they apply,” he said, in an interview with Business Vision.
He called on the government to strengthen existing laws, by making them more punitive, in order to stamp out the vice, which has led to enormous health challenges for both humans and animals.
He said as the vice progresses, the government is also losing on revenue, since most counterfeiters, especially the local ones, do not pay taxes.
A substandard product is one that does not meet the general and technical specifications required by the standards and as such, is considered to be inferior or of poor quality.
On the other hand, counterfeit products and services are an imitation of the original products, and are often more affordable, convenient, similar in look and as such, difficult to differentiate from the original.
Recently, Bukoola launched a campaign dubbed “Twefeeko” intended to create awareness among farmers, about the dangers of using counterfeited and substandard products, and increase food security across the country.
The six-month campaign which started in August, Kyabagu said, will see different experts moving across the country to enlighten farmers on how to differentiate between fake and genuine products.
He added that farmers will also get entrepreneurship skills, such as book keeping, after which they will be linked to different financial institution to ease their access to credit.
Paul Kyabagu, founder of the chemical manufacturing plant, said to beat counterfeiters, a combined effort is needed between all stakeholders.
He said as the company celebrates 50 years, next year, and the anti-counterfeit awareness campaign will only be intensified.
Fred Muwema, the legal director, Anti Counterfeit Network Africa (ACN) credited Bukoola for being one of the indigenous companies that is committed to consumer welfare, and pledged his support to the cause.