The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has been commended for its cassava seed tracker system, by an independent audit team representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The five-man audit team led by Loretta Byrnes, while visiting the council in Abuja, expressed satisfaction over the council’s cassava seed tracker system and other innovations.

Byrnes said she was also impressed with the way NASC collaborated with other partner certification agencies in Tanzania and Kenya, noting that“NASC is above other certification agencies in Africa.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had been sponsoring a project called Building a Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS), in Nigeria since 2016, in order to make cassava sustainable.

The team came to assess what the seed industry was doing within the project life cycle and the Director-General of NASC, Dr. Olusegun Ojo, gave the team an overview of the BASICS project progress report.

The molecular laboratory was the most notable one, a diagnostic facility for testing viral presence in cassava seed which the team was taken to. Another high point was the visit to the cassava seed tracker server room.

The NASC was formally known for its manual paper certification, but the cassava seed tracker has now dovetailed with the national seed tracker.

Presently, with its new e-certification, field certification to accreditation of seed companies, it goes through the portal of the national seed tracker. NASC had no standard for Early Generation Seeds (EGS) in cassava before but with the advent of BASICS, there is now a technology on board called semi autotrophic hydroponics.

This semi autotrophic hydroponics enables seeds to be multiplied rapidly from cottons and the BASICS project has also developed standards to certify labs that are producing cassava cottons.

BASIC has five partners: the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, FERA Science in the United Kingdom, NASC and Context Agro.

Source: AgroNigeria

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