How National Agricultural Seed Act will benefit farmers —NASC
DIRECTOR-General, National Seeds Council (NASC), Dr Olusegun Ojo, has explained some of the benefits the newly signed into law National Agricultural Seed Act would bring to farmers and average Nigerians.
Ojo, while speaking with journalists shortlyb after the opening ceremony of a retreat for Board members and top management staff of National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), which held at the Internationl Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, said:”We are here to let people know the good things that President Muhammadu Buhari has done by assenting to the National Agricultural Seed Act 2019.
“That the coast is now clear for implemention. We have brought together management and board members of NASC in order to develop strategies and look at all the issues that need to be addressed to ensure that farmers and stakeholders are well informed. Farmers too are actually need to be informed because the essence of this is to ensure that good genetics, good varieties are made available to farmers so that their productivity would increase and food security in the country is enhanced.”
He further hinted that NASC supplies 50 to 60 per cent of seeds being used in West Africa saying that it is added income not only to Nigeria but even to farmers.
Ojo, however, informed that as a result of the new Bill, penalties for erring practitioners have increased in order to serve as deterrent. “Formerly, somebody who breaks the law would pay about N500 but now for a first offender, it is N1million or a jail term of six months or both and for a repeated offender it is N2million and six months imprisonment.”
Also speaking during the programme, Dr Rose Gidado, of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said: “Based on the mandates given to NABDA it is to promote biotechnology through the use of technology in agriculture to come up with improved quality seeds that when farmers use would lead to high productivity and lead business breakthrough in agriculture.
“Agricultural productivity in Nigeria today is very low because of lack of quality seeds. Farmers are used to storing their grains for the next season and by the time the next sesaon comes, some of these grains would not germinate which is not really good.
“The use of technology in agriculture will help boost productivity just like Brazil, Argentina, US, Canada and Japan. They have all gone far in the use of technology and we want Nigeria to actually join the league of these nations.”