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Quality seeds are essential for food security

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Planting of improved seed varieties is needed to achieve food sustainability.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of eradicating hunger and ensuring food security by the year 2030 will be challenging to accomplish in Nigeria unless and until the country’s farmers agree to cultivate improved seed varieties. Moses Atewogboye, a renowned specialist in the value chain of agriculture and the West Africa Commercial Manager of the Ecobasic Seed Company Limited, revealed this information during a two-day training session for the operators of seed firms that took place in Kaduna, in the northwest of Nigeria.

He asserts that Nigerian farmers spend an extra 5.2 metric tonnes per year on fertilizers but only a fraction of that amount on better seeds, which should be used in conjunction with those amounts to achieve optimal results. With an estimated value of N18.74 trillion in 2021, the agricultural sector of Nigeria’s economy is the largest employer in the country, contributing 25.9% to real GDP. This highlights the importance of precision farming practices for the country’s farmers.

Farmers need to distinguish between grains and seeds.

Mr. Atewogboye made the observation that a significant number of Nigerian farmers in today’s society are unaware of the distinction between planting grains and seeds. Therefore, they require a significant amount of public awareness to be raised, and this is where the media step in. Farmers need to be made aware that the greater amount of grains they plant, the more harm they will cause to the seed industry and the less agricultural output they will receive.

If the nation does not adopt the practice of planting seeds rather than grains, it will be difficult for them to produce enough food for their own use, let alone for export, in order to contribute to the SDG goal of ending hunger and achieving food security. For instance, if the population forecast is presently put at over 200 million and is predicted to be over 245 million by the year 2030, the first concern that arises is what people will consume.

Group partner to offer the breeder seed of a high-quality parental line.

According to Dr. Muideen Oyekunle, a maize breeder at the Institute of Agricultural Research at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, the university is collaborating with Ecobasic by offering the breeder seed of a high-quality parental line. This is because the university is tasked with producing high-quality seeds for all seed companies in Nigeria. Using enhanced maize and other crop types is the most effective strategy to revolutionize agricultural output. The vast majority of farms now use open-processed varieties.

Also, the use of hybrids will lead to an increase in the production of units per area, and once that occurs, there will no longer be a threat to the availability of food. He added that the objective of the company is to contribute to the process by developing an enhanced hybrid. In order to accomplish this goal, there needs to be a foundational parent for the hybrid itself, and this is what the seed companies will employ in order to develop the final products.

People now spend more on fertilizer than the cost of seeds.

Moreover, Mr. Atewogboye revealed further that fertilizers are in high demand, with national usage estimated at around 5.2 million metric tonnes. Therefore, if individuals spend money on fertilizer, it is cause for concern for seeds, which is the basic requirement for agricultural productivity. Therefore, Nigeria must develop the practice of using only pure seeds when planting if it is to maintain its agricultural sector and its food security. He urged people to give serious thought to the kind of growth they intend to nurture.

Related Links

Ecobasic Seed: Website

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