Council to generate improved seeds to boost food production
The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) is to generate more improved “Early Generation Seeds’’ to boost food production in the country.
The Director-General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, made this known on Monday in Abuja at the stakeholders’ workshop on “Addressing Challenges of Early Generation Seeds in the National Seed System of Nigeria’’.
He said that the essence of the workshop was to ensure that Nigeria produced enough “early generation seeds’’ for multiplication and use in the country.
“By `early generation seeds’, I mean breeder and foundation seeds, so that farmers could have access to good quality seeds to boost food production in the country.
“We want to look at the capacity of seed breeding institutions; we want to see what they are doing, their challenges and ways forward, so as to provide solutions to those challenges,’’ he said.
Ojo said that NASC, in line with its mandate of regulating the seed industries, was eager to transform the country’s seed system into a leading seed industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This will generate foreign exchange, connect employers to labour and contribute positively to the country’s economy.
“It may interest you to know that about 70 per cent of seeds used in Africa are from Nigeria,’’ he said.
The director-general, however, identified lack of incentives for seed breeders, inadequate funding of research institutions and lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights for researchers as some of the major challenges facing the industry.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, urged stakeholders in the seeds industry to use the forum to tackle the challenges facing the research institutions in the country.
The minister said that the importance of seeds as a major catalyst for the rapid development and transformation of agriculture in any country could never be over-emphasised.
“The development and adoption of improved seeds are responsible for the achievements of Asian countries in green revolution.
“Improved seed as a key input, enhances agricultural productivity and ensures food security, as it is the carrier of the genetic potential of the crop plant that determines the limit of productivity, “ he said.
Ogbeh stressed that “early generation seeds’’ were required for successful multiplication into commercial seeds for use by famers to produce grains.
In his remark, Prof. Candidus Echekwu, Leader, Legumes and Oilseeds Research Programme, said that the workshop would enable experts to brainstorm on solutions to the challenges facing the production and development of quality seeds in Nigeria.
“The objectives of the workshop are for us to identify the bottlenecks and put our heads together to find solutions to the hindrances facing quality seeds development, in our efforts to boost food productivity in Nigeria,’’ he added.