In efforts to ensure Nigeria fully benefitted from the global seeds trade of about $68billion, the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), has firmed up its membership of international organisations including Organisation of Economic Cooperation and day Development (OECD), International Seed Federation (ISF), and the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).
NASC Director-General, Dr Philip Ojo, said this membership will promote Nigeria’s participation in the global seeds trade, and enhance quality seed delivery capability, while encouraging private sector participation in the seeds sub-sector.
Nigeria currently produces 70 percent of seeds consumed in the West Africa sub-region, and has also emerged as Centre of Excellence for seed production in Africa, hence the need to leverage the advantages the country has in seed production and ensure it tapped into the global seed trade.
Ojo, at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Conference, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, also NASC is working towards the introduction of legislation for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant (PVP) in Nigeria, as well as firming up its membership of international organisations. He advocated the quick passage of the PVP bill to complement the existing Seed Act, for the establishment and maintenance of a strong legal protection for seed and plant products, and enforcement to check illegal seed practices.
He disclosed that NASC has also launched the National Seed Tracker, introduced the turn-key electronic Seed Authentication system, developed a Five-year strategic plan, and up-graded the central seed testing laboratories to meet international Standards.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, noted that quality seed is a key input towards enhancing agricultural productivity, and ensuring food security, job creation, and economic growth in Nigeria.He tasked the stakeholders on the need to render services for posterity, “… because with a growing population expected to reach above 400 million in few years from now, we must plan ahead, and recognise the importance of this sub sector to the overall sustenance of national plan through agricultural productivity.”
He further said: “we are all challenged today to identify, discuss determine the type of interventions needed (technological, regulatory and others) to make quality seeds available to farmers through sustainable systems and roadmap, with specific recommendations, to guide sound and sustainable dissemination strategy for improved crops to resource poor farmers in Nigeria, in particular, and West in general.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said there is a need to focus more on locally-made seed, because they have been tested and proven in the seed sub-sector, and assured that the bill before both chambers of the National Assembly would soon be passed into law.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agric. Production and Services, Danduste Muntari, noted that quality seed is vital in the process of achieving food sufficiency, job creation and boost the internally-generated revenue in Nigeria.
Culled From guardian.ng