Farmers to ensure food security in Nigeria
By Doris Esa
The Federal Government has assured farmers across the country of access to improved quality seeds with the newly inagurated Revised National Agricultural Seed Policy 2022.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar stated this at the inauguration of the Policy in Abuja,
He said the policy would ensure farmers unrestricted access to best genetics to enhance their productivity.
Abubakar listed a number of challenges militating against food production and food security in Nigeria.
He said that these factors included economic uncertainty, policy inconsistencies, rising oil prices, population explosion, insecurity and of recent the arm conflicts in many nations of the world.
The minister said it became imperative for the review of the 2015 National Seed Policy in order to bring about progressive and positive changes in the operations of the seed industry.
He said: “It is expected that following the critical review of the 2015 National Seed Policy, the progressive and positive changes in the operations of the seed industry has necessitated the review exercise.
“The present seed policy document represents the concerted efforts of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and stakeholders,” he said.
The minister said stakeholders have made valuable inputs and contributions, towards ensuring that farmers have unrestricted access to best genetics to enhance their productivity.
“Let me reiterate that this Revised Policy has removed the ambiguous areas in the esthwhile 2015 National Seed Policy.
“It will strengthened the identified weaknesses and introduced innovations that optimised the regulatory, promotional and protection roles of NASC in ensuring that our esteemed farmers have access to improved quality seeds.
“Some of these include the introduction of SEEDCODEX as a quality authentication tool and traceability aimed at curbing adulteration, participation of third party seed inspectors in the quality assurance process,” he said.
The minister recognised contributions of stakeholders at both the public and private sectors in enriching the contents of the New Policy document.
He described it as the ministry’s investment to build a better future for Nigeria’s agriculture based on the importance of seed towards enhancing farmers’ productivity.
Earlier, the Director- General, National Agricultural Seeds Council, (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo said that policy has leverage on the advent of technology and innovations in the seed industry.
He expressed hope that the policy would further enhance government efforts at ensuring that Nigeria is not only food secured but a net exporter of agricultural produce among the committee of nations.
“The NASC will be committed to the full implementation of the policy,” he said.
The Chief of Party, USAID, Feed-the -Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, Mr Olumide Ojo assured that the programme remained committed to strengthening the Nigeria’s agribusiness enabling environment.
This, he said, is an important precondition for private sector investment in agriculture..
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on March 27, the Federal Executive Council approved a revised National Agricultural Seed Policy for the country.Explaining the reason for the revision, the government said with the current rate of technological advancement, seeds are constantly being upgraded to standardise four to five vitamins.