Worsening Food Security Hampering Access to Quality Seed – NASC DG

The Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council, Dr Olusegun Ojo has said the worsening food security caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered access to quality seed in Nigeria.

Ojo while speaking in Abuja on Monday at the 4th Edition of the Seed Connect Africa 2021 noted that the world is facing great uncertainties considering the COVID 19 pandemic which fueling lots of negative economic growth, failing healthcare systems, disruption to supply chain, collapse food system and worsening food security situations.

“This situation has complicated access to quality seed and other inputs such as fertilizer and agro input thereby disrupting food security situations in many countries and economies”.

Ojo however explained that NASC recognizes this fact and is working hard in collaboration with many of its partners to ensure they create a sustainable and robust seed system in Nigeria and beyond capable of withstanding shock brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic.

“Our task is to work together to tackle the complexity of food value chain challenges for the overall benefits of Agriculture and Nigerians at large”.

“For us in NASC, the need to address challenges in the seed industry is partnership, it is the solution to make us stronger and develop robust seed industry to make Nigeria food secured”. He added.

Ojo further highlighted the achievement of Seed Connect, which include the introduction of plant variety law in Nigeria, now proud to announce that Nigeria now has a plant variety protection law, development of regulations and currently setting up the plant variety law office and the introduction of National Seed Act with the introduction of stiffer penalty and solid foundation,

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Others include, the introduction of technology to police the seed industry to wade off adulterators,
introduction of CODEX which enables farmers and other stakeholders to verify the authenticity and geniuness of seed package, current review of the seed policy and commencement of diagnostic certification and setting up of molecular facility in line with international global practices.

Also the commence of third party in seed system with cassava as a pilot which has taken off in kogi, Benue, Oyo, cross river and Anambra.

Migration from manual to electronic seed certification system with national seed tracker, scaling up seed market surveillance and enforcement of seed standards to mention but a few.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar while speaking on the theme of the conference “Strengthening Resilience through partnership for a robust seed system in Nigeria” noted that the importance of seed to a sustainable agriculture revolution is sacrosanct as the growth of the agricultural sector will be hampered without a proper structured seed system to support the industry.

Abubakar explained that over time stakeholders has agreed that seed is a starting point of any agricultural revolution and a panacea for food and nutritional security.

He noted that food security is hinged on seed security and seed security is hinged on solid seed system that’s why we are building policy that is based on seed system to achieve incredible agricultural development in Nigeria.

He added that “to fast track agricultural development value chain, improve efficiency of delivery of seed and other agric input and enhance productivity.

“We have launched the national agricultural road scheme and agro implementation and technical committee.

“Their mandate is to see to the smooth implementation of input and enhancement initiative for the benefits of farmers across Nigeria
considering that the seed component is one that will be closely monitored”.

He enjoined all to join forces together to build strong and sustainable seed deliverable system from research programme to variety release, commercial seed multiplication, seed quality assurance, seed haulage logistics and seed utilization.

He reiterated that working in isolation will make the value chain break and cause unprecedented systemic disruption, in more advanced economy, actors in the seed value chain utilize partnership that’s why they remain resilience over generations.

He thereby encouraged investors to go into seed production as the seed value chain is wide and very profitable.

“Without collaboration, progress will remain a mirage, I expect this forum to allow us discuss profitable programmes to key priority to access and quality seed inter agency cooperation and synergy, issues around plant variety protection, seed business development and other partner issues to actually building a resilient and robust seed industry in Nigeria”. He concluded.

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