Farmers to benefit from technology to track fake seeds


A new technology set to save farmers from buying substandard seeds and pharmaceutical products has been unveiled. The Information Technology system that provides an alert on the product through SMS has already been tested in the country and discussions are already going on between the Kenya Plant Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and an IT firm in Nigeria on when the product is to be implemented. A strategist director at mPedigree company Selorm Branttie said the technology will help agro-farmers and customers in the region increase their ability to detect whether the seeds or medicine they intend to buy in the shop is fake by use of a mobile phone.

The farmers will be required to send the product’s code using SMS to the manufacturing company. “We have noted that Kenyans have fallen prey to counterfeit products like seeds and drugs that have flooded the Kenyan market. The ‘GoldKeys’ technology will offer the best solution to farmers and other customers to detect the authenticity of the product in the market before purchasing it,” Branttie said. He said by sending a short code text message labelled on the product from a mobile phone in any network to the product manufacturer, a farmer is able to know whether the product is genuine. “The Goldkey technology enables the farmer or a drug buyer to tell the authenticity of the products when a short code message is sent to the manufacturer of the products. It automatically rejects when the products is not genuine,” he said.

However the Anti-Counterfeits agency (ACA) has raised red flag over increase cases of Counterfeit seeds in the regions that have affected crop farming. The hardest areas include Western, Rift valley and Uasin Gishu regions. Mr Branttie said the technology is also be used to detect fake pharmaceutical products like malaria drugs and other anti-biotic medicine whose authenticity can be tracked by using an SMS short code which is sent to the product manufacturer. He said Kenya has already started using the technology when it was first launched in the then country by Public Health and Sanitation Minister Ms Beth Mugo in 2011. Mr Branttie said Orange Kenya is already using the technology on SMS alerts.

The director said they were in consultations with the Kenya Plant Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) to employ the technology across the country to ensure farmers are protected from counterfeit seeds. He said the Goldkeys technology has been piloted in ten African countries, adding that six of the countries among them Nigeria and Ghana have fully operationalize the technology to deter counterfeiters from exploiting both genuine manufacturers and customers in the products market chain. The director said the technology has been deployed in South Asia and a pilot phase of the technology is going on in Latin America and the Middle East.





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