The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said addressing the challenges of making available quality early generation seeds in the seed value is critical to achieving the goals of the Green Alternative Agenda.
Ogbeh stated this while declaring open the stakeholders workshop themed” Addressing the challenges of Early Generation Seed in Nigeria Seed Industry in Nigeria” organised by the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) which began in Abuja on Monday.
According to Ogbeh” We need to innovate in addressing the various challenges of making available quality early generation seeds in the seed value chain,take stock of how best to ramp up production and create the necessary institutional structures and linkages to ensure a well Coordinated seed production system of various crops in the National Seed Systems”
He said “This becomes very important and critical if we must achieve the goal of the Green Alternative Agenda of this administration to attain self sufficiency in our local staples”
Chief Ogbeh said “Our target is achieving self-sufficiency and become net importers of such priority crops as rice in 2018,tomato paste and Wheat in 2019 and increase local production of maize soyabean, poultry and livestock in the years after” adding that ”This will help is achieve import substitution and significantly stabilise as well as reduce the high import bill currently being incurred on food items to the barest minimum.”
He noted that the critical role of seed as a major catalyst for rapid development and transformation of Agriculture in many nations of the world cannot be overemphasized.
The minister stressed that “there is a growing concern over the non availability of the early generation seed varieties in adequate quantities,quality and productivity for the development and sustenance of viable seed system of various crops in the seed industry.”
Speaking on the challenges of the early generation seed, the minister said “ The seed system of many food and industrial crops are collapsing due to inadequate quantities and poorly coordinated adding that cotton had suffered the same fate among other crops.
He further stressed that the stakeholders workshop was aimed at finding a solution to the trend as it was not acceptable”
The minister further posited that also worrisome is the low yield of existing crop varieties in Nigeria compared to what is obtainable in other countries adding that the workshop was also aimed at addressing this challenges in order to move the seed industry in particular and Agriculture in general to the next level.
Again from the industry and commercial end users the demand for high quality products that can only be produced using seeds of specific quality is on the increase, stating that since demand demand for this type of high quality end product is growing faster,the pull for use of quality seeds is equally increasing.