The Federal government has said that those importing and selling seeds without approval, false labelling and use of unbranded packaging materials would face the wrath of the law.
Consequently, in line with the new National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) Act 2019, the Federal Government, approved a two-year jail term for merchants of fake and adulterated seeds.
Speaking in Abuja, the Director-General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, said that any offender who contravenes the provisions of seed law would be liable to two years imprisonment or a fine of N2million or both.
As part of the punitive measure, Ojo said the operating licence of the said offender would also, be withdrawn to serve as a deterrent to others.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed the National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill 2019 into law.
The law was crafted to promote and stimulate the development of dependable seed industry, regulate and control the registration of released crop varieties, protect Nigerian farmers from the sales of poor quality seeds, facilitate the production and marketing of high quality seeds and provide legal backing for official testing certification, sales, importation, export and use of seeds in Nigeria.
The NASC DG further explained that doing seed business without accreditation of the NASC, import or export of seeds of any form without NASC approval, awarding of government seed supply contracts to persons who do not have the right approval to trade in seed, false labelling, selling of seeds in an open container, use of unbranded packaging materials, fraud or attempted fraud in the utilization or marketing of seeds, failure to keep proper records are some examples of infringement under the new law.
Therefore, he warned individuals who have formed the habit of engaging in any form of seed business without recourse to the seed Act to desist from such unscrupulous act or face the wrath of the law.
Dr Ojo explained that to ensure faithful implementation of the new Act the Agency would deploy smart, tamper proof and enhanced security certification tags which would replace the old seed certification tags.
This new initiative was launched earlier this year, with the support of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the umbrella of the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA).