A consortium of partners involve in the Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa, has unveiled plans to invest about $1.9million to support seed companies in the production of quality early generation seeds in Nigeria.
The three-year project is being supported by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), United State Agency for International Development (USAID), United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The objective of the project among others, include increasing production and dissemination of early generation seeds to seed companies to check counterfeiting of seeds.AGRA Country Director, Kehinde Makinde, speaking during the inception planning and review meeting of the consortium, yesterday, in Abuja, said the fund would be split among the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Premiere Seeds, and Value seeds.He said the focus is to reach two million farmers with improved certified rice, soya bean, and maize seeds.
The Director-General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, said Nigeria requires about 400,000 metric tonnes (MT) of certified seeds annually, adding that the provision of 1,810MT of foundation seeds would, among others, ensure seed companies are able to meet demand.
Ojo said: “It is actually our way to ensure that only good quality seeds are made available to farmers; and farmers are no longer surcharged, and to enable farmers know that what they are buying are authentic to improve productivity and food security.”
He also said private seed companies would work to ensure that there is adequate quantity of early generation seeds to have good quality seeds at the farmers end. He said NASC would regulate activities of the seed companies, and provide quality assurance mechanism to ensure that what they bring out is the best quality.
“We are also going to ensure that after producing, the tags that go on those seeds are smart tags that farmers can get better assurance that these are quality seeds,” he said.