Sabo Nanono, the minister of agriculture and rural development, has charged the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) to ensure professionalism in its drive to promote high quality seed business and farming practices in the country.
The minister, who congratulated the council and commended global partners for their support on the enactment of the new National Agricultural Seed Council Act 2019, noted that the experiences of the past showed clearly that Nigeria had not fared well in quality seed promotion and that the NASC must do everything reasonable to reverse the ugly trend.
Nanono projected that if NASC, in collaboration with all stakeholders in the nation’s agricultural value chains, worked tirelessly in quality seed business in line with its mandate, seed and food quality would improve significantly with the attendant positive implications for food security and agricultural sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He recalled his experience as a wheat farmer over the years, including how India used commitment to high quality seeds to boost her productivity and become net exporter of wheat today, adding that NASC can help Nigeria get over the challenge of adulterated seeds.
He said: “If we are able to promote and encourage high quality seed, we will not only improve our yields but also improve the contributions of agric sector to our GDP.
” This is why I am calling on the NASC to be professional in the pursuit of its mandate and explore the provisions of the newly enacted Act to make sure that farmers get the best quality of seeds so that we get the best crops from them.
“Let me say here that the Federal Government is ready to give the Council, through our ministry to support your initiatives as you move to implement the new Act so as to sanitize the Nigerian seed industry”, Nanono assured.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the NASC Director General, Dr. Olusegun Ojo, said that Council was fully determined to completely eradicate adulterated seeds from the agricultural markets in the country.
He, however, solicited the cooperation of all stakeholders, including small holder farmers, international agencies such as the AGRA, IITA, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, relevant MDAs, in order to enable the Council fulfil its mandate.
He said: ” Unless every member of the agricultural sector community work together in the implementation of the Act, the dream of making Nigeria a strong and leading champion in Africa’s seed quality drive will remain a pipe dream.
“I want to assure the government, the Honourable Minister, international partners who have given us support towards the enactment of the Act and others that the Council is prepared for the implementation of the Act to ensure that our farmers get the best seeds and that the food our people consume is of the highest quality”, Ojo added.