NESG Dialogue: Stakeholders Call For Competitive Agric Seeds Industry in Nigeria

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Monday, August 26, 2019 / 1.50PM /  Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

 

Stakeholders made a strong case last week for a competitive seeds industry in Nigeria, that will contribute to the growth and development of a virile Agricultural sector. 

Improved seed development was part of the resolutions at the consultative dialogue hosted by the Nigeria economic summit group, NESG, in partnership with the National Agricultural Seeds Council. 

The forum, hosted in Lagos, was an opportunity for major participants in the agricultural seeds value chain to discuss and explore ways of improving the industry. 

Giving her opening remarks the Head, Think-Thank Operations, NESG, Feyisayo Ajayi, said that the dialogue was an opportunity to assess the recently signed National Agricultural Seeds Council Act, 2019 by the President and the impact it will have on the Nigerian economy through a viable Agricultural sector.

Speaking at the event the Director-General of the National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC stressed the fact that agro-seeds serve as the panacea to food security in the country. 

According to him the right legislations, policies and regulations will help to boost the Nigerian seeds industry and the value chain. 

He noted that access to improved crop varieties would lead to bumper harvest for farmers, which is good for agricultural production and sectorial contribution to the economy. 

Dr. Ojo also said part of the objective of the NASC is to reposition Nigeria as a leading seeds industry in the globe. 

Based on the role of the council, the Director-General added that the focus was to galvanize efforts and ensure that smallholder farmers plant quality seeds, that will translate to food security. 

The Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian-Agribusiness Group, NABG Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere lauded the collaboration between NESG - NASC describing it as a partnership that will deepen the Agricultural sector in the nation. 

He noted that the NESG has a Food Security and Agric Policy Commission that has been at the forefront of policy advocacy for the sector, and has been instrumental to key reforms in the agro space. 

In his presentation on the dynamics of the 2019 National Agricultural Seeds Council Act, Mr. Folarin Okelola of the council highlighted the functions of the NASC, which include the following;

  • Advise the Federal Government on the organization, management and financing of seed programs.
  •  Approve seed standards
  • Advise the national research system on the changing pattern of seed demand and farmers needs
  • Regulate the seed industry in Nigeria


For the key improvements that Nigerians should expect from the 2019 NASC Act,  Okelola identified the key areas to include;

  • Modification of Penalty for Infringements
  • More options for quality assurance: Improved certification process
  • Certification of planting materials: Involves approval of categories of planting materials for certification purposes.
  • Plant Variety Protection (PVP): This entails the  protection of breeders and farmers rights
  • Supervising Seed Importation: The NASC will supervise the process of import or export of seeds in Nigeria.

The benefits of the NASC to Nigeria are immense, and top amongst them are;

  • It will afford farmers access to improved seeds, and this will have an impact on the yields obtained from crops.
  • The NASC Act 2019 will lead to improved foreign exchange earnings and revenue for the government of Nigeria.


Speaking further Mr. Folarin Okelola also informed stakeholders that Nigeria through the National Agricultural Seeds Council, achieved the feat as the first African nation to achieve digital seed certification.


The event also featured a panel session and an interactive session where the following issues were raised for the improvement of the seeds industry and agro sector;

  • The need for ease of access to seeds for Farmers
  • Increased publicity of the activities of  the NASC to farmers in the country
  • The need for more collaborations between NASC and other agencies, international organizations and agro-based groups.
  • The need to increase the activities of agric extension workers in the country.
  • The need for improved financing measures with an affordable interest rate regime for farmers.


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