The Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institutes (LCRI) Dr Oluwasina Olabanji, has suggested investment plan to boost seed production in the country, which according to him, would enable farmers have easier access to seeds for planting at affordable rates, and expedite Nigeria’s food sufficiency drive.
Olabanji also said investment plan in seed production would ensure farmers afford the right kind of seed for crop production, compete favorably, and address $22 billion spent annually on food importation into the country.
While speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on the sidelines of the just concluded workshop on seed which has the theme, “Addressing Challenges of Early Generation of Seed in National Seed System” also made further case for farmers along the seed value chain to enjoy subsidy along the which he argued would empower the farmer the more and increase their production, and even enable them compete favourably.
According to him, “when there is subsidy in seed production, there would be mass production of that commodity .Like our farmers now, if our government decides to subsidise food for our farmers, we would be self sufficient in major commodities for production, where we spend so much money importing food. The Investment plan entails bringing all the stakeholders together for a common front in seed production, the director general said, noting further that the intervention for farmers would be for three years to enable them be independent and operate seamlessly on their own afterwards.”
Also speaking at the event, the Director General of National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo assured that the council would generate more improved “Early Generation Seeds” to boost food production in the country.
According to him, “by ‘early generation seeds’, I mean breeder and foundation seeds, so that farmers could have access to good quality seeds to boost food production in the country. We want to look at the capacity of seed breeding institutions; we want to see what they are doing, their challenges and ways forward, so as to provide solutions to those challenges.”
Ojo said that NASC, in line with its mandate of regulating the seed industries, was eager to transform the country’s seed system into a leading seed industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This will generate foreign exchange, connect employers to labour and contribute positively to the country’s economy. “It may interest you to know that about 70 per cent of seeds used in Africa are from Nigeria,” he said.