Forward/Statement by the Director General
Access to good quality seeds of improved crop variety is critical in enhancing agricultural productivity and ensuring food security that complement the on-going efforts by the present administration in diversifying the national economy. The general decline in the growth rate of agriculture’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 4.27% in 2014 to 3.72% in 2015 also impacted on the decline in certified seed production from 178, 039MT produced in 2014 to 123, 597MT recorded in 2015. This decline could be attributed to the low government intervention as a result of the transition process from one government to another.
It is quite remarkable that thirty two (32) outstanding crop varieties including two (2) Irish potato, three (3) tomatoes, two (2) cabbage two (2) sweet pepper, two (2) sorghum, fifteen (15) maize, two (2) wheat, two (2) rice and two (2) cowpea variety were approved for release during the year by the national committee on variety registration and release. Notable global seed industry giants namely monsanto, Syngenta, seed co West Africa in collaboration with national agricultural research institutes were among the institutions that released these varieties. This is a welcome development towards widening the base of released crop varieties available for planting and utilization by farmers and other end-users.
The council in exercising its statutory responsibility of regulating the seed industry carried out an adult/ inspection of facilities of the 157 accredited seed entrepreneurs across the country for the process of re-certification. This is with a bid to determine their suitability or otherwise for continued operation in the earlier category for which they were accredited. The exercise provided the basis for elevation of some seed companies that have acquired additional facilities such as seed processing equipment, seed testing laboratories, increased production capacity etc. and downgrading of others that have not made any appreciable progress since they were accredited as a seed enterprise.
Furthermore to continuously sanitize the seed industry and rid the market of sale of fake, adulterated and poor quality seeds especially by spurious seed merchants, the council carried out various seed enlightenment campaigns and road shows to sensitize the general public and especially of the activities of the unscrupulous seed merchants. This activity was complemented with strategic seed surveillance and market raids which culminated in the confiscation of about 1.567 MT of fake and adulterated seeds that were publicly destroyed to serve as deterrent to other fake seed dealers.
Towards the enhancement of seed adoption through seed promotion, the council in collaboration with some seed companies established strategic seed demonstration plots in three agro ecological zones of the country to showcase the superiority of quality seeds over farm saved seeds. Impressive field days were held at the sites with over 600 keys stakeholders in attendance at the established sites.
In an effort towards streamlining and strengthening community based seed to improve adoption and enhancement of quality seed delivery to rural based farmers, the council organized a stakeholder’s workshop during the year with the theme “synopsis of existing community based seed production programme in Nigeria and way forward for enhanced seed production and food security”. The workshop was well attended with 102 participant and produced a guideline for community seed production in Nigeria.
The year 2015 was a progressive and eventful one to the Nigerian seed industry and I wish on behalf of the council to acknowledge the contribution and support from all stakeholders and particularly the development partners of the seed sector. Notable among which include West Africa agricultural productivity programme (WAAPP), West African seed project (WASP), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank (fadama III-AF), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (FAO), International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD) etc. for their partnership and support in moving the seed industry to its current position.