Wet season: Over 100,000MT certified seeds available for planting ― NASC

THE National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has said that in the coming cropping season, seed companies under its watch have in stock 100,023.53 metric tons of certified seeds for planting.

Addressing journalists during his first media interaction this year, the Director-General of NASC, Dr Phillip Ojo said the seeds will be available for farmers to buy.

“The seeds companies under NASC watch currently have in stock ready for planting in the coming cropping season, 100,023.53 metric tons of certified seeds of rice, maize, sorghum, soybean, cowpea, millet, groundnut, wheat, sesame and potato.

“This seeds will be available for farmers to buy and plant instead of their own low-quality seeds. Buying and planting these good seeds will ensure that farmers get better yield during this trying period,” he said.

Dr Ojo said efforts were being made to fight fake seeds in the market through the introduction of SEEDCODEX which allows farmers to determine the quality of the seeds in the market before buying.

“Our call to farmers is that only seeds affixed with the NASC SEEDCODEX tags fall under this category and it should be what they should buy from the shelves of their seed suppliers.

“The SEEDCODEX tags as you are aware is the output of the NASC electronic seed verification and authentication system that enhances the efficiency of our seed certification and quality assurance scheme which we put in place to prevent seed adulteration by unscrupulous seed merchants.

“Please let our farmers know that all certified seeds pack in Nigeria must carry this authentication tags with code affixed on them for farmers to send to a dedicated number to be able to verify instantly, the authenticity of seeds purchased by them and report any unscrupulous seed dealers in the National seed space to the NASC,” Dr Ojo explained.

He said in 2020 following the recertification of companies accredited by NASC, 103 out of 314 seed entrepreneurs were delisted and their operational licenses were withdrawn.

“This action was necessary to further strengthen the seed industry and ensure that only serious-minded entrepreneurs with genuine seed industry vision and farmers interest have the mandate of the NASC and therefore eligible to participate in seed related activities of government, projects, donors, aid-related program,” he explained.

The NASC boss further said that the council introduced the National Seed Tracker (NST) which is a web application for enhanced operational efficiency of seed company registration and real-time tracking of NASC quality assurance processes.

He said there is a high expectation for the passage of the Plant Variety Protection Bill currently before the National Assembly.

“This we are doing in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders,” he noted.

“We will enhance our seed surveillance and compliance activities to ensure only improved certify seeds are sold to farmers. This we have already started as our team just this week returned from Osun State.

“Our message here to all fake seed operators is that we are just around the corner to stop their nefarious act.

“This year we are coming with a new innovation to track adoption of varieties in the country. With the support of BMGF we will join Ethiopia and Tanzania to make effort towards institutionalizing the monitoring of varietal adoption, turnover and performance using genotyping (DNA Finger-Printing) to trace the effectiveness of varieties released and adopted by farmers.

“As technology is very important, we will this year conclude effort to digitize all activities of the agencies of government,” he added.

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