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NASC partners mPedigree to launch new technology for tracking agricultural seeds

Picture1: From L-R Global Director Strategy of mPedigree Network Nigeria, Selorm Branittie, the Head Corperate Affairs of the Company, Chukwudi Madu and the DG of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, shortly after signing agreement of deployment of Seed Tracking Technology.


By Edwin Nwanojuo
The National Agricultural Seeds Council, which is Nigeria’s seed regulator in the agriculture sector, in partnership with mPedigree Network Nigeria, has introduced an innovative platform for electronic quality verification of seeds and planting materials in Nigeria.
mPedigree was selected as NASC strategic innovation partner to deploy mPedigree’s Ovasight technology to advance this program and ensure digital surveillance of the national seeds supply system.
Under the introduced scheme farmers shall from June 2019 be able to verify the certification status of seed packets they purchase from agro-dealers.
Speaking while signing an agreement with mPedigree, the Director General of Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council, Dr Philip Ojo said “some three years ago, the electronic  seed  certification  system  was  introduced  in  East  Africa,  Kenya  in particular  and  just some  few  months  back  other countries  like  Tanzania, Zimbabwe,  Malawi  all  in  the COMESA  region  have  initiated processes  to introduce the system.
“I am proud to inform you that this same feat is what we have gathered to
achieve  and  today  we  will  be signing  a  letter  of  intent  with mPedigree  the
technology giant that is behind the success of this technology globally.
“This will mean that in the next few months, we will just like in the pharmaceutical industry introduce  a  turnkey  electronic seed  certification  system  with scratch  card authentication and enhance security features that will make it impossible for the
faking of any seed certified by the NASC”
He further said “We  will commence  the  implementation of  a  turnkey,  electronic,  agro-certification  program  for  the  Nigerian  seed  industry,  based on  mpedigree’s
globally proven and multi-award winning Goldkeys platform. The solution we are
offering  will  make  us  respond faster  and  more  efficiently  to the  need  of
companies  that  require certification  tags  as  we  will now  be  able  to  provide
millions of smart certification tags within a short period coupled with the roll out of
an e-verification system.
“The Goldkeys technology, will enable quality and genuineness verification
by farmers and the public through SMS, smartphone apps (with GS1 barcoding
support)  and  web.  It  is  also equipped  with  its  own integrated  call  center  desk
software. For sophisticated users, blockchain verification is also available to further
strengthening  the  resistance against  sabotage.  We  therefore at  NASC  will become the first federal agency  to deploy a blockchain-powered  application
for mass usage in West Africa”.
Also speaking, the Global Director Strategy of mPedigree Network Nigeria, Selorm Branttie said “for me this an important occasion especially with the fact that the NASC has decided to put their name a a technology company which is also look at the same objective in that no farmer in this country should be a victim fake seeds.
“We are very happy and very enthusiastic that this is the first time that this is being deployed in the West African region, and with the experience we have gathered in deploying this in East Africa with several countries, we believe that the wealth of experience is also going to be used as a piggyback to ensure that Nigerian Seed certification system in going to be one of the most resilient in the world.
“We are ready to take all those steps together with NASC to ensure that in the future when they are talking about sustainable agriculture productivity in this country, the role that the NASC  had in beginning the foundation through the provision of quality certified seeds would be the bedrock of the story of success of agriculture in the whole of Nigeria”.
In his submission, the Head Corporate Affairs of the company, Chukwudi Madu said “we are looking to improve agriculture being that it is the basis for our growth, we are not going to take this responsibility lightly, the Seed Council has been doing a great job, we are only going to take this to a higher level and make much better gains for the Nigerian agricultural sector.
The data from these verifications shall complement current enforcement mechanisms and strengthen the new online seed batch approval process that is to accompany the verification system.
By digitizing the quality certification management process, NASC aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria’s food security and seed stock surveillance capacity, thereby boosting agribusiness and helping eliminate hunger.
The increased traceability and accountability should also greatly enrich the policy formulation process by removing information asymmetries and increasing responsiveness. Market efficiency is a major expected outcome of the scheme, since fraud and faking shall be suppressed through the business process automation and enhanced transparency.

About Edwin

Edwin is an agriculture enthusiast who believes in the potency of agriculture in driving economic growth in developing countries. He also believes in the use of biotechnology to advance agriculture in order to fight hunger and poverty. Edwin believes in the power of the media to bridge the gap between policy makers, sector actors and the farmers, especially those in the rural areas.

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