With efforts been made to upgrade the agro sector of the Nigeria the introduction of improved inputs and contribute to food security is being worked upon by a consortium of Dutch seed companies who have launched the ‘Seeds for Change’ (S4C) program in conjunction with the Dutch government.
Following the S4C Launch, the consortium plans to exhibit in the Dutch Vegetable Seeds Pavilion at the Agrofood Expo in the Landmark Centre in Lagos .
Mr. Mackenzie Masaki a delegate of the Netherlands-African Business Council, NABC who happens to be the coordinator of the S4C project said this during an interview:
“There are a lot of opportunities to improve the quality and volume of the crops grown in the Kano area. ”
Recent researches carried out within Nigerian boundaries can confirm that majority of farmers in Kano state use farmer saved seeds and open pollinated seeds for planting.
Thus, there is a business case for switching from low quality farmer saved seeds to buying better quality seeds when one knows how to grow vegetables with these seeds.
On the other hand, , the S4C program is channelled towards promoting the use of biological crop protection and hybrid vegetable seeds that will improve yields and provide training on cultivation techniques for 5 vegetable crops i.e. tomato, watermelon, onion, hot and sweet pepper and cabbage.
Investigations also confirm that well-established farmers are going to run trials with the hybrid seeds to ensure the right varieties are introduced and selected, not only to the climate and growing conditions in the North but also for the market.
According to Masaki: “Parallel to this, we will work with a multiple demonstration farms that will to a large extent mimic local farmer growing conditions and be utilized as centers of excellence to train farmers on how best to manage hybrid seeds. The demonstration farms will then in turn be linked to model farmers,”
” local farmers with good standing in the society for others to see that it’s possible. We do not only focus on bringing in more seeds, since for certain crops a lot of quality improvement by way of training is possible even without the need of bringing in hybrid-seeds,”
“we intend to compliment knowledge and capacity building at farm level with access to markets by working with established traders and retailers
.” The benefits of switching to hybrid seeds should trickle down from market all the way to the farm level. Farmers get better and more consistent prices for their products; retailers and traders get consistency in the volume and quality of products andthe consumers get good and safe products on the table,”said Masaki. .
The S4C program is a private public partnership (PPP) between the Dutch government through RVO (the Dutch Enterprise Agency) and 6 Dutch companies: Rijk Zwaan, East West Seed, Bakker Brothers.