In Summary
  • Mbeguchoice allows farmers and local seed sellers to access a list of suitable seed varieties for specific weather conditions and soils for their areas.
  • Currently, the online database contains over 200 commercialised crop varieties, including 61 varieties of maize, 25 of common bean, 11 of cassava, 13 of Irish potato, and 12 of sorghum.
  • In the past, farmers have relied on trial-and-error methods and take years before getting the right seeds, leading to massive losses and poor harvests.
  • The database will also ensure that only certified seeds are on the market and that unscrupulous seed vendors will be locked.

For the first time, farmers in Kenya will be able to select the right kind of seeds for specific local conditions after the government launched an online ‘seed bank’.

Mbeguchoice, developed jointly by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro), the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), seed companies and Agri Experience, with support from Kenya Markets Trust, allows farmers and local seed sellers to access a list of suitable seed varieties for specific weather conditions and soils for their areas.

Speaking during the inaugural ceremony in Nairobi, Agri Experience director Aline O’Connor said Mbeguchoice was a free-of-charge online portal aimed at helping farmers drive food production for Kenya’s top four staple foods – maize, common beans, sorghum and cowpeas and a host of other 200 seed varieties.

“A strong food production system starts with high-yielding crop varieties developed for specific farming environments whose good characteristics of being disease and drought resistant as well as early maturity will help farmers make informed choices,” said the director.

Currently, the online database contains over 200 commercialised crop varieties, including 61 varieties of maize, 25 of common bean, 11 of cassava, 13 of Irish potato, and 12 of sorghum.

LOCK OUT UNSCRUPULOUS VENDORS

The database will also ensure that only certified seeds are on the market and that unscrupulous seed vendors will be locked out as no unauthorised seed producer will be allowed to post untested seeds on the online portal.

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