KEBS says fertilizer Caught in NCPB depots is fake, blames another entity

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has distanced itself from the recently seized fertilizer found in various National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots nationwide.

During her appearance before the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, KEBS Managing Director, Esther Ngari, clarified that the fertilizer in question, flagged as unsuitable for use, lacks KEBS certification and is not part of the government’s subsidy program.

Ngari emphasized, “The product being distributed lacks KEBS certification and is not included in the government subsidy program, according to the information available to us.”

She further elaborated that the product initially certified by KEBS differs from the fertilizer seized from NCPB depots, which has been condemned as substandard and counterfeit.

Ngari explained that KEBS had entered into a certification contract, known as the Scheme of Supervision and Control, with a company named SBL-Innovate Manufacturers Limited on January 25, 2023, subsequent to the company’s application for product certification on January 4, 2023.

“The Certification Contract or Scheme of Supervision and Control (SSC) signed obligates the manufacturer to adhere to and fulfill all requirements of the relevant standard, terms, and conditions of certification, and to produce quality products within the validity period of the Standardization Mark Permit,” Ngari stated.

However, she disclosed that following public complaints, KEBS discovered that SBL-Innovate Manufacturers Limited had breached the contract.

“Our investigations revealed that SBL-Innovate Manufacturers Limited misused the KEBS Standardization Mark on a product that lacked KEBS certification. The company affixed the mark to a product that had not undergone the mandatory certification process as stipulated by the Standards Act and governed by the applicable standard,” she added.

In light of these findings, Ngari announced the suspension of Standardization Mark Number 60392, which was issued for organic fertilizer.

KEBS has taken swift action to seize all unauthorized products from the company found in NCPB depots to prevent further distribution.

“KEBS has commenced legal proceedings against SBL-Innovate Manufacturers Limited to hold them accountable for this violation. The product by SBL-Innovate Manufacturers Limited is not part of the government subsidy program due to its failure to meet the labeling requirements of similar subsidized products,” she further stated.

Reports indicate that the substandard fertilizer was sold to farmers over the past year, resulting in reduced productivity.

In response to this incident, KEBS has implemented stringent measures to ensure the quality of agricultural inputs, including fertilizers.

“Kenya Bureau of Standards has established a rigorous framework to ensure the quality of agricultural inputs, including fertilizers. This is done within the framework of Standardization, Metrology, and Conformity Assessment Kenya Standards, which serve as the basis for evaluating commodities manufactured and certified for sale in the Kenyan market,” Ngari concluded.