The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has recommended crop breeding, agronomic management and conditioning of storage facilities as essential for increased seed longevity for maize, kenaf and legumes.
The executive director of the institute, Prof Veronica Obatolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan that it was in this wise that they prioritised research into these storage systems to enhance food security.
Obatolu, a professor of food nutrition, said that in achieving food security, seeds were the most important living inputs in crop production.
She added that yields from crops would be pivoted on the quality of seeds planted.
She said the cost of producing quality seeds for farmers to plant yearly would be higher than what it would cost to store the same quantity of seeds under suitable conditions for future use.
According to Obatolu, good storage also ensures the purity of seeds than the frequent production in the field.
A lot of work in the institute is being channelled into improving the storability of seeds.
The main benefit of our research on improved shelf life of crops to farmers is improved income and livelihood. This is because the farmers have access to adequate and quality seeds to plant at the right time.
Planting high quality seeds results in good crop establishment, vigorous plants and ultimately higher yield at harvest.
Another important benefit of improved seeds to farmers is the high value of produce and products derived from the use of high quality seeds; the products command higher prices,” Prof Obatolu said.
She also said the most important way farmers could improve their yields per hectare is by planting improved varieties and adopting the use of quality seeds.
Obatolu advised farmers to also follow the recommended guidelines for production of each crop, saying that timeliness and appropriateness of operations and inputs are important for farmers to achieve high yields.