Bags of fertilizer in NCPB

Following the revelation that the company had provided the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) with fertiliser that did not meet the required standards, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has charged a regional fertiliser merchant located in Kenya with engaging in fraudulent activity.


A number of documents that were presented to the Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly by KEBS demonstrated that SBL-Innovate Manufacturer Limited had been supplying faulty fertiliser known as BL-GPC for more than a year without being discovered.


According to KEBS, the company submitted their bid for certification on January 13 and received permission on January 28 of the following year.


Parliamentary representatives were informed by the Managing Director of KEBS, Esther Ngari, that the firm had originally fulfilled all of the regulations, which resulted in the agency issuing them permission to distribute organic fertiliser. However, the company subsequently engaged in fraud by breaking the norms.


In spite of the fact that the standards agency granted SBL-Innovate Manufacturer the certification to offer organic fertiliser, the company sold diatomite to NCPB outlets. Biological processes produce diatomite, a type of silica that enhances soil conditions.


"During the course of our surveillance, we had the opportunity to taste the substance that was being sold in agrovets, and we were ultimately able to get information that the product was being provided via NCPB outlets. Ngari added that the product's results showed no testing on organic materials.


Unknown to them, farmers had been purchasing the product that bore the KEBS certification for many months.


A tip from the general public prompted KEBS to initiate an investigation, which resulted in the organisation capturing 5,840 bags during a surveillance search.


As a result of the information, the National Consumer Protection Bureau (NCPB) sent samples of the product to more than 59 warehouses around the nation. This resulted in the suspension of the product permits due to concerns that the product could still be in circulation, the product permits were suspended.


The statement made by Ngari was that "we have not received any communication from NCPB in regard to this particular matter, even while they were disseminating those materials."


In his capacity as head of the committee, John Mutunga, a member of parliament from Tigania West, raised questions about the efficiency of KEBS monitoring and how the phoney fertiliser managed to stay on the market for a whole year.


"I would want to know how often you do your surveillance, what the impact is on the farmers who have purchased and used this fertiliser, and whether or not it has any impact on the crops," Mutunga said.


Considering the product has already been in distribution since 2023, he said, "Your tracking system must have knowledge of how long they go to the marketplace to check out products on sale and exactly how often they disclose replicas despite the fact that the product has been in circulation."


A member of parliament for soy, David Kiplagat, expressed his surprise at the fact that NCPB ware outlets all across the nation were selling counterfeit fertilisers without their knowledge.


"Could you please explain the connection that exists between KEBS, NCPB, and SBL-Innovate manufacturers? Before distributing the goods, did the NCPB make an effort to get confirmation from KEBS that it had been certified?"


KEBS said that it has begun legal actions against SBL Innovate Manufacturers Limited, despite the fact that it was unsure of the amount of the product that was available on the market.


According to Ngari, "We submitted a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution in order to be authorised to prosecute the situation in accordance with the standard act."


Within a few hours after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) seized seven hundred bags of what is believed to be counterfeit fertiliser in Kakamega, the parliamentary inquiry was initiated. Stones were reportedly included in the fertiliser that was sent to the farmers in the region.

 

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