Genuine or fake seeds? UD researchers ‘dig in’ to how seed fraud impacts Kenyan farmers

University of Delaware alumnus Mariam Gharib (right) helps a Kenyan farmer verify the corn seed’s authenticity by submitting the certification code listed on the seed packet to the manufacturer via a text from his cell phone.For farmers, a productive harvest can mean money in the bank.  Poor yield due to drought, pests and other environmental factors, on the other hand, can threaten livelihoods. Improved seed varieties have been developed to address these problems for many agricultural crops. Yet while agricultural production in the United States continues to rise, in areas of Africa, such as Kenya, gains in agricultural production have been more limited. This is particularly true of corn, or maize, productivity in the Nyanza Province, which occupies the largest share of the region’s farmland compared to other crops and is a staple food for more than 90 percent of the area’s population. According to University of Delaware alumnus Mariam Gharib, a Kenya native, one possible reason for this production lag may be seed fraud, a practice where plant seeds marketed as high-performance have actually been tampered with or been replaced with inferior products. Read the full article on UDaily.