Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has assured of the Federal Government’s total support to the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), to implement the just signed seed bill, saying the government would not tolerate the proliferation of adulterated seeds.
Nanono who gave the assurance at the stakeholders consultative meeting on the National Agricultural Seeds Council Act 2019 in Abuja, said the signing of the Act placed a dainty challenge on the Council.
The Minister said Nigeria must defend its seeds industry as against infiltration of fake seeds and urged that seeds companies be pro-certified.
The Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Council, Dr Philip Ojo, said applications for import or export of seeds shall be forwarded to the NASC and applicant shall forward a copy of approval issued by the council to the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NASQ) for grant of import permit.
He said the Council was working with the Nigerian Customs Service, NAQS and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that all seed imported or to be exported has the approval of the NASC.
“This we will do to ensure that our nation is well secured against threats that follow uncoordinated importation of seeds.
“We have stepped up our game to ensure that this is no mere rhetoric with the introduction of some new innovations that will assist us to perform these functions efficiently and effectively.
“We are moving away from visual certification to Diagnostic Certification of our production fields to enhance our certification system. We are proud to have a molecular diagnostic laboratory where crops diseases that can spread through the use of seeds can be easily detected.
He noted that the council has successfully piloted the cassava seed tracker an award-winning innovation that won the google innovative challenge 2018.
“As a result of the success of this app, we are about to commence introduction of the National Seed Tracker a Web-Application for real-time tracking of seed production, seed trade, seed quality management and e-certification. It’s also, a platform for linking all stakeholders along the seed value chain.
“We will very soon deploy what we call the SEEDCODEX a turn-key electronic authentication system under which scratchable tags will now be stamped on all seed packages. Farmers upon scratching and sending the hidden number to a number inscribed on the tags get confirmation on the quality of the seeds and the producer of the seed. All seeds that will be supplied under any scheme to farmers going forward in Nigeria must meet this standard which NASC is rolling out,” he said
Also speaking the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, said the implementation of the seeds act will ensure that farmers get the best quality seeds and yields.
Jaiyeola while noting that the group is a private sector-led think-tank organisation that promotes sustainable growth and development in the Nigerian economy, he said it also sensitised stakeholders across Nigeria to facilitate the assent and implementation of essential agricultural sector bills particularly the Seed, Fertilizer and Warehouse Receipt Bill.
The Country Manager, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Dr Kayode Makinde, called for the signing of fertiliser bill into law saying the seed is important, but that seed itself is not sufficient without good fertilizer.