During a “One-day Training of Seed Producers and Dealers n High Quality Seed Production and Handling” that was held in Abuja on Tuesday, the Director General of the National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, revealed that 449 seed companies had been registered in an effort to increase food production in Nigeria. He added that it had become essential for NASC to organize the training in conjunction with Surez Global Resource Nigeria Limited because “there is big business in seed business,” more people are anticipated to enter and invest in Nigeria’s seed industry, which he compared to a piece of uncultivated land.
He asserts that Nigeria supplies 60% of the seed used in West Africa, and it is in Nigeria’s best interest to continue to hold this position of leadership, given that other African nations frequently visit Nigeria to learn about the processes and technologies employed in seed production. He added mentioned that the present need for seeds in Nigeria is 550,000 metric tonnes, but just half of it is being met. As a result, he made a plea for new seed producing firms to enter the market and fill the void.
Seed industry has seen a significant rise in recent years.
The Director General also stated that the Nigerian seed industry had experienced a phenomenal expansion in recent years, which he attributed to a rise in investment from the private sector in the industry as well as a boost in the number of new companies entering the seed market. There are currently up to 449 registered seed enterprises in the different categories which include large, medium, small, producer/seller, and seed dealers, compared to 314 in 2021. The committee is now reviewing additional applications for accreditation.
New firms make up a significant number of seed companies, and they are not yet equipped with the technological know-how necessary for the production of high-quality seeds and the post-harvest management of seeds. This prevents the seeds’ viability and integrity from being damaged in any way as they move up the value chain. Even businesses that have been around for a while still occasionally hire new workers who are lacking in the expertise necessary to ensure the highest standards in seed production, preparation, packing, storing, and handling.
Production of high-quality seeds requires professionalism.
Speaking further, the DG affirmed that making high-quality seeds is a specialized job that requires a lot of expertise. These skills can’t be learned without training that teaches the necessary knowledge and methods in seed production. This includes all the work that happens on the field, and also cultivation, processing, storing, and distributing the seeds. To ensure quality seed development and distribution, as well as careful management and operation of the seeds at each level to avoid harm and loss of viability, NASC is tasked with training key players in Nigeria.
Thus, these important players (seed producers and dealers) accountable for providing quality seeds for the renowned farmers must be periodically trained in quality seed generation and post-harvest management to improve their abilities in modern quality seed production methods and operations. The course will teach them the basics of quality seed production, process, preservation, and management, as well as the new National Agricultural Seeds Council Act No. 21 of 2019’s seed standards and regulations so that they may produce and market seeds for their seed firms properly.
Food security cannot be achieved without quality seeds.
Ebiarede Zidafamor, Director of Seed Coordination and Management Services at the NASC, also shared their thoughts, saying they are educating the new entrepreneurs who have not gained the essential knowledge or capacity to produce seed. Zidafamor also noted that the training program would assist seed companies in playing by the rules in terms of professionalism in order to provide farmers with quality seeds. He emphasized the point by saying that food security can only be reached with quality seeds.