NASC Charges Oyo State Govt To Step Up Seed Production
The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) Director-General, Dr. Philips Olusegun Ojo has urged the Oyo State government and the southwest to turn around the present low level seed production, which is among the lowest in the country.
Placing the exalted state of the southwest in the days late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Cocoa House and the like and the low level of the zone, in terms seeds production today set a solution-searching tone during the meeting of the Director-General, Dr. Ojo and the Oyo State Governor, Ajimobi, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Barr. Oyewole Oyewumi.
The Commissioner said the NASC DG’s challenge is obvious, and has to do with the very low level seed production that has lingered over time given clear statistics presented by the Seeds Council. To face the issues, Oyewumi revealed that State government has set up the State Seed Coordinating Committee, which is to regulate and coordinate seed production and distribution in Oyo State.
With Oyo State and the southwest zone doing only three per cent of total seed produced nationwide in comparison to about 35 per cent by the northwest as revealed by NASC, Oyewumi said the State would now leverage on the existence of the several World-class research institute in Ibadan and its environ to geometrically grow seeds for the use of the farmers.
Oyewumi said that beyond seeds, the State is planning to make available other inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides so that the transformation of the agriculture sector in the State would be all encompassing for benefits of farmers and job creation for the youths. He said that it is hoped that in two seasons, there would be great change in the quantity and quality of food produced in the state, especially as it has about 1.8m hectares of land for cultivation.
Oyo state plans to utilize about 1,500 hectares of land for seed production and step up to about 25,000 hectares in collaboration with the seed marketers, the research institutes and the farmers, creating jobs for over 1,000 youths in the next one year, the Commissioner said.
Oyewumi said it is the agenda of the State to have this sustained over the next five years to bring about the desired level of production. To achieve this, the government would partner the private sector because it would be handled as business, and not seeds produced for free distribution though he did not rule out the matter of subsidy for farmers in the State.