The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has set aside about $2 million to fund the production of quality early generation seeds for farmers through the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Premier seeds Nigeria Limited and Value seed Nigeria Limited.
Speaking at a meeting on Increasing Production and Quality Early Generation Seeds (EGS) to Improve Income and Food Security of Farmers in Nigeria, the Director General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo said “the project is to ensure that traffickers or people who always counterfeit seeds are put at bay. It is actually our way to ensure that only good quality seeds are made available to farmers, farmers are no longer surcharged”.
“That is why we are partnering with AGRA and service providers to ensure that quality seeds gets to farmers. And to enable farmers know that what they are buying are authentic to improve productivity and food security.
“We have subsisting seeds law to bite, and it has been perfected by the legal department and sent to the National Assembly, which is waiting for the assent of the president”, Dr Ojo said.
The Country Manager of AGRA, Kehinde Makinde said the support AGRA is giving is to support the Seed Council better be able to prosecute in the quality agenda for the seed industry as well as provide support for the availability of early generation seeds.
“If you look at the seed Industry, you have a need for transparency. The farmers need to know who are these people producing good quality seeds . so what we are doing is to bring visibility to the farmers and transparency to the different actors so that people can trace back the quality of seeds that they get and be assured that their money is not wasted.
“So if you don’t have a clear mechanism that provides transperancy and visibility, you will have a lot of people bringing fake seeds and what that does is that it confuses the farmers. If he gets grains instead of seeds, they will not be able to say the value of improved seeds and he will just complain that oh I bought this but it didn’t work for me.
“Financially, AGRA is providing about $2 million dollars for NASC and the two seed companies, this is outside the support we provide to the seed companies and the seed council”, Makinde said.
“With this system, farmers are able to see and determine where the source of the seed, then they can now know whether to buy or even report to oversight authority on people selling bad seeds”.
“We have been told that early generation seeds are required to produce certified seeds. So we think its important to address the shortages of that in the country so we are providing support to help do that”, Makinde said.
This project is an initiative of consortium of partners which is called partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa which includes the Bill and Melinda gates foundation, USAID and Rockefeller foundation partnering with AGRA. AGRA is providing the technical, support for the implementation of this project.
The Consortium of partners decided to work together to procreate investment so as to have better inputs to take advantage of synergies by different partners and avoid duplication.
It is expected that the consortium partners provide support to other seed companies who require early generational seeds, to get the certified seeds used by the small holder farmers.
Seed companies require this early classes of seeds to be able to produce certified seeds, if there are no sufficient quantity of this primary seeds then it would be difficult to produce the certified seeds.