The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has tasked the National Agricultural Seeds council (NASC) with providing increased number of quality seed to farmers.
Nanono said the Council plays a major role in the administration’s country-wide plan to boost agricultural productivity even as national population is expected to upshoot.
The minister gave the charge on Thursday while speaking at the National Seed Retreat held at Ahmadu Bello University, Kano.
He 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 construct roadmap, with specific recommendations, to guide a sound and sustainable dissemination strategy for improved crops to resource poor farmers in Nigeria in particular and West in general.”
He noted that quality seed is a key input towards enhancing agricultural productivity and to ensure food security, job creation and economic growth in the country.
He therefore charged the Council to provide a conducive policy environment bu sustaining a virile national seeds system for Nigerian farmers.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, in his address called on the Council to focus more on provision of locally made seeds which he said “have been tested and proven in the seeds sub sector”.
Adamu assured stakeholders at the Retreat that related bills before both chambers of the National Assembly would soon be passed into laws.
During his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agric. Production and Services, Danduste Muntari, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda in the agricultural sector.
In his welcome remarks, the Director General of the NASC, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, disclosed that the Council has introduced the National Seed Tracker and an electronic seed authentication system.
He also said that the Council has up-graded the central seed testing laboratories to meet international Standards.
Ojo also stated that NASC has commenced effort towards the introduction of the Legislation for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant (PVP) in Nigeria.
He further disclosed that the Council was firming up on its membership of international organizations like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Seed Federation (ISF) and the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).
Ojo advocated for the quick passage of the PVP into law so as to complement the existing Seed Act for the establishment and maintenance of a strong legal protection for seed and plant products.
The passage into law, he explained, would help to strengthen enforcement of regulations to deter persons engaged in illegal seed practices.