The Director-General of the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo, has charged stakeholders in the seed industry to abide by the 2019 seed Act to create a thriving market for high-quality seed or face penalties for infringement.
Ojo gave the charge in Abuja at the Stakeholders’ Sensitisation and Capacity Building Workshop on the Implementation of NASC Act 2019.
He said any offence in the industry that attracts N500 and six months imprisonment for any infringement but has been increased to N1 million and one-year imprisonment for the first offender, and for a repeat offender, N2 million and two years imprisonment or both in the new Act.
He noted that the NASC Act 2019 does not permit importation for commercial purpose, adding that importation for the purposes of research and development is highly encouraged.
“We are not shutting our doors to importation just yet, we understand that they are challenges facing the industry and these challenges we will all work through together to surmount especially in the face of increasing global trade and regional alliance that promotes free and botherless trade amongst countries, regional bodies and intergovernmental organisations,” he said.
Dr Ojo stated that the Act has introduced a number of innovations including third-party certification, which creates avenues for young people and others to participate in seed quality control as a third party while the Seed Council has responsibility for oversight.
He added that certification of planting materials are now certifiable entities, whereby the Act empowers the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve categories of planting materials for certification purposes.
The Director-General however assured that NASC will do all within its mandate and beyond to support the success of the industry.
“We will continue to engage with you, delivering policies and regulations capable of stimulating sustainable growth in the industry.
“Over the past few years, the NASC has been working tirelessly with Seed Companies, partners and donor agencies on reforms that will accelerate investment and improve institutional efficiency and effectiveness in the sector. To this end, a lot has been achieved. However, more still needs to be done.
“Today, the Seed industry in Nigeria is witnessing transformation, new innovations are being unpacked to make our job easier, more effective and efficient,” he said.
On the policy implementation, the Group Head, Kads Capital Limited, Mr Ken Ogiamien, said the real test of success lies in the implementation of the process of turning the policy into practice.
Ogiamien said the implementation greatly requires the commitment and dedication of the government and other stakeholders.
“It is important to keep in mind that while seed policies must be reasonably stable, they should be able to adapt to changing situations and should therefore be reviewed on a regular basis in order to meet the changing needs of the seed sector, farming communities and the agricultural sector as a whole.
“Ensuring that farmers have access to affordable quality seeds and planting materials of the most suitable crop varieties is essential for improving food security and nutrition as well as the livelihoods of farming communities,” he said.
For high-quality seeds, abide by 2019 seed Act, NASC charges stakeholders