Representatives from 17 countries are meeting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to seek free movement of seeds across the borders within the region.
Tribune Online also learnt that the meeting would also assess and evaluate the progress made by member countries in implementing harmonised regulations on seed production and trade.
The meeting of the 5th Session of the West Africa Regional Seed and Seedling Committee Meeting said CORAF in collaboration with West Africa Regional and Seedling Committee (WARSSC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and others were working out strategies to end fake seed trade, and also ensure a robust seed industry in the region, without violating member countries laws.
Executive Director of CORAF, Dr Abdou Tenkouano in an official statement, noted that the countries in the region have worked assiduously to produce a harmonised seed industry regulations that will ensure that farmers get access to quality seeds.
According to him “harmonised laws and regulations provide the right conditions for promoting seed production and quality control. They provide the basis for healthy competition between seed companies, promote the free movement of seeds across borders and provide farmers with access to high-quality seeds.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono said that Nigeria’s membership of the International Seed Trade Movement has helped in standardizing seed production and distribution in the country.
Representing Minister, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu, noted that Nigeria’s government was working to emerge the region’s hub for excellent seed practices.
He said Nigeria had gone ahead of other countries by introducing molecular Diagnostic laboratory for seed testing.
“In the same vein, we are enhancing our capacity for seed testing as we are now a member of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and have moved from visual to diagnostic certification with the establishment of our molecular diagnostic laboratory in our head office in Sheda.
“In few years to come, Nigeria will transform to become a regional hub for seed industry capacity development as we are doing everything to position the NASC office complex to become a center of excellence for seed sector development in West Africa where we will provide capacity development programs and other services for our sister countries”, Mu’azu noted.