Reliable sources can reveal the recent lamentations coming from the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) concerning the difficulties faced by members of the association as regards expected payments for the seeds sold to the Federal Government.
While complaining about the uncurbed indebtedness of the government to their members, SEEDAN maintain that the seed sector is not a development sector, but a business of which making revenues ought to be a primary goal.
During the Seed Connect Africa 2019 conference held in Abuja yesterday , the association’s President, Philip Olafare blamed the government for their evident monopoly of the country’s seed industry.
He lamented that when the government purchases seeds from farmers and tells them to drop it at the warehouse, it takes them some lengthy time to make payment for the commodity. He also stressed that the mode of payment by the government was not sustainable for any serious businessman.
Olafare also points out the financial challenges faced by farmers in the country, as he cited the ethics of business circle. He further made reference to the period when the country experienced banks rendering support to the sector by lending money, which was during the Growth Enhancement Support Programme, however things are different now due to the fact the financial bodies are willing to render help through lending of funds to carryout productive agricultural activities.
He highlighted some other challenges bedeviling the seed producers to include seed adulteration, noting that no system in the world is perfect and Nigerian seed industry is still at the nascent stage.Others include recycling of seeds by some unscrupulous elements, round tripping, site selling, politics on rice, poor funding and access to finance, fragmented markets which is over dominated by the government, with governors buying seeds.
Dr Philip Ojo who is the Director-General of the National Seeds Council, disclosed that the focus of the Seed Connect conference was to build upon what was done at the previous conference, in light of the gaps in the industries, the potential and opportunities for seed companies to recoup revenues.