“Know where to buy your seeds” – Govt warns farmers as counterfeit seed floods the market


HARARE – Agriculture minister John Masuka has warned farmers against counterfeit maize seed that has flooded the market, saying they should buy their seed from reputable seed producing companies and not unregistered dealers. 

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Fake maize seed scam hits Zimbabwe. Image:

Zimbabwean farmers are being duped into buying counterfeit maize seed that has become rampant on the market.

Masuka said unscrupulous traders put washing powder or other chemicals on the seeds to make them look genuine, but the seeds are not protected from pests and diseases.

The minister was responding to legislators on Wednesday during a parliamentary question and answer session.

“This [fake seeds] issue is about corrupt activities which are being done by certain individuals and it needs the Minister of Home Affairs to address it by arresting the culprits. Farmers must also buy seeds from reputable seed producing companies. They must not buy seeds from unregistered dealers,” Masuka said. 

“Some of these dealers put washing powder or other unrecommended chemicals so that their seeds appear legit (sic). It is important for farmers to buy seeds from reputable dealers because their seeds are well protected from worms and other diseases during planting and growth.”

He said the government has a seed certification system in place to assess the quality of the seeds before they are put on the market, adding that it would work with police to prosecute those who cheat farmers.

“Fake seed starts with the farmer. When you buy your inputs, know where to buy genuine inputs. We have a seed certification scheme where the quality is determined before seeds are taken to the shops.”

“The germination percentage, type, quality and all these things are done through the grading process, but those which are sold anywhere else, this is something else and it is up to us as Government to work with police officers to prosecute people who cheat others.”

Seed Co, Zimbabwe's major maize seed manufacturer, recently warned farmers that counterfeit maize seed resembling the company's name is being sold countrywide. 

The company has since engaged the police to address the fake maize seed scam. Police said that counterfeit maize seed is being sold openly to unsuspecting farmers. 

“Some of the maize seed is being sold through informal markets and hardwares in various parts of the country. Unscrupulous syndicates are selling fake and counterfeit maize seed packaged with material and logo resembling Seed Co’s trademark and brand, obviously this being done to lure customers,” national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.

Police encouraged farmers to help in identifying fake seeds by calling in tips to the Harare Complaints Desk or Bulawayo.

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