THE National Chairman, National Association of Grain Storage Practitioners of Nigeria, Chief Eric Ozongwu has said that over 85 per cent of seeds in the Nigerian market are not from certified seed companies.
Chief Ozongwu who disclosed this while speaking with Nigerian Tribune, admitted that good seed is panacea to good yield while bad seed even with fertilizer would still not give the farmer a good yield.
He, however called on the government to strengthen the National Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) to always monitor the quality of seed sold in the open market.
“Out of the 100 per cent seeds you get in the market, more than 85 per cent are not certified, they do not come from certified companies, and I will take it that there are no proper checks and balance, people at the Ministry of Agriculture are not serious.
“The National Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) is supposed to have inspectorate division where they go round and check quality of seeds in the market.
“We should empower National Agriculture Seed Council for them to do the needful, do their work very well and make sure that we have a relatively certified seeds in the market”, Chief Ozongwu said.
He further explained that some of the seeds being sold in the market are not breeder or foundation seeds, instead they are seeds which have been in the farm for years.
“⁹People will relatively buy cheaper seeds in the market, some of these seeds are not breeder or foundation seeds, some of them have been in the farm for so many years, so when the farmers plant it, they will not be sure of what they get out of it”.
Speaking on the new Seedcodex technology introduced by NASC to tackle fake seeds, Ozongwu said a lot of enlightenment campaign is needed to teach local farmers on how to use the technology.
Seedcodex technology is brainchild of mPedigree Network Nigeria. It allows the certified seed companies to get codes from mPedigree, place them on seed sacks, so that potential buyers can always text the code on the seed sack to a particular number to ascertain if the seed is original.
“It will be a good thing, but you know most of our farmers are not educated, so it will become a problem, some of those farmers don’t even have phones to check if they are buying the real seeds they are buying, there is for a lot of education for the farmers, and I know that in the long run, it might work, but now, a lot of work has to be done.
“Like I said, the National Agriculture Seed Council has to do a lot because they are constitutionally empowered to check the quality of seeds in the market, but if you get to their office, they don’t seem to be very serious.
“The fact remains that what determines what you get in the farm is the quality of seed you plant, if you have a good seed, you expect a wonderful harvest, but when the seeds are not good, even with fertilizer, land quality and the rain, you can’t do that magic if you don’t have quality seed”, Ozongwu said.
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.