The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the National Agriculture Seeds Council (NASC) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) held a Regional Consultative Meeting on Popularising the National Agricultural Seeds Act in Lagos, Nigeria on the 27th of August, 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Delivering the opening remark, the NESG Chief Executive Officer, Mr. ‘Laoye Jaiyeola welcomed everyone to the event and said that the implementation of the seeds act will ensure that farmers get the best quality seeds and yields. Afterwards, the Director General of the NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo reiterated the importance of the NASC Seeds Act 2019, and made it known that the council will work closely with relevant agencies to ensure that only the best quality seeds are brought into Nigeria. He also said that the NASC is pioneering a center for excellence in West Africa; where other countries are coming to learn from. He called on all stakeholders to partner with NASC to ensure the implementation of the seeds act and enjoined farmers to plant only the best quality seeds to obtain the best yields.
The Country Manager for the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA), Dr. Kehinde Makinde thanked all stakeholders for devising strategies to support different sectors of the agricultural value chain. He said the reforms made in the act would help to ensure the best for farmers in terms of having the best quality seeds and resultant yields at all times. Makinde pled with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development to help facilitate the signing into law of the various agricultural bills awaiting passage.
Gracing the event with a Keynote Address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, assured the audience that his ministry will provide an enabling environment for farmers to thrive and also provide all necessary logistics that will help the NASC performs its duties.
A detailed technical presentation on the National Agricultural Seeds Council Act 2019 was conducted by Dr. Okelola, technical adviser to the Director-General National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC). Okelola stated that the act is concerned with all agricultural seeds and all matters concerning seeds must be in tandem with the act. He said the act is divided into 13 parts, two schedules and 55 sections which all empowers the NASC to act on all issues concerning agricultural seeds. Furthermore, he revealed that the mission of the NASC is to build a market-driven seed industry for the production and distribution of seeds that are available, accessible and affordable for farmers.
Furthermore, during a panel session with Dr. Ishiaku Khalid, Dr. Olusegun Phillip Ojo, Dr. Awwal and Dr. Folarin Okelola, Dr. Awwal of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said that the essence of the national seed tracker is to make the service readily available and to also simplify the process of seed identification for farmers. Dr. Khalid while responding to questions said that the NASC has evolved with technology and it was pertinent that farmers observe their seeds regularly, as they are subject to deterioration. He reiterated that doing so will ensure a bumper harvest.
The Director-General of the NASC, Dr. Ojo in his closing remark said that the NASC act as facilitators and regularly educate stakeholders, while also engaging in surveillance. He also made it known that the NASC have officers that test and ensure that seeds all over the country are of the highest standard. He said that the NASC engages in surveillance, to ensure the removal of adulterated seeds from the market and that the council will continue to engage to ensure that farmers get the best possible seeds and yields. He noted the importance of capacity building and that the NASC sends its staff out regularly on trainings and workshops. He mentioned that one of the core responsibilities of the NASC is to certify and de-certify seed companies; and that the council is collaborating with commodity associations and banks to ensure the best for the Nigerian agricultural ecosystem.
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) is a private sector led think-tank organisation that promotes sustainable growth and development in the Nigerian economy. The group is a not-for profit/non-partisan organisation with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led economy that is globally competitive on a sustainable basis. Over the past two years, the NESG and AGRA has sensitized stakeholders across Nigeria to facilitate the assent and implementation of essential agricultural sector bills particularly the Seed, Fertilizer and Warehouse Receipt Bill. The Seed Bill was finally assented by the Nigerian President on the 24th of June, 2019.