COOPERATION between the National Council for Agricultural Seeds (NASC) of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) was established to develop a strategy to overcome some of the most important bottlenecks in the country in order to comply with the requirements of domestic and international legislation necessary to promote export trade.
This is based on the use of a set of usable digital tools and knowledge products for the certification of seed exports, pest information updates, pest risk assessment and pest management by NAQS in accordance with the WTO-ATP guidelines and establishing links to the internal seed certification program NASC for simultaneous inspections of seed production fields.
Experimentally tested prototypes of these technologies, observations on Cassava Disease and Cassava Seed Tracker programs developed by IITA in cooperation with NAQS and NASC. The proposed plan will be based on these pilot projects in the development of appropriate technologies, products and procedures to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of regulatory functions.
The workshop was held in conjunction with the World Trade Organization (WTO-STDF) Project Standards and Trade Development Grant, entitled "Strengthening Phytosanitary Capacity in Nigeria to Promote Market Access: Developing and Integrating a Digital Pest Management System," Seed Certification and traceability ", implemented by IITA, NASC and NAQS.
NASC Director-General Dr. Philip Ojo in his opening remarks thanked STDF and IITA for creating a commendable platform for the development of the seed industry, especially that it affects the export / import of quality seeds through the deployment of ICT in its certification.
He mitigated the impact that the project will have on the seed industry, beginning with the resumption of synergies between the participating agencies participating in the project and the tracking areas that will go a long way towards creating the necessary acceptance of Nigerian seeds in international markets. He reported on the collection of plans to make Nigeria a center for seed trade in the subregion.
NAQS Coordinator-Director, Dr. Vincent Isseghbe, in his speeches also welcomed STDF and IITA in facilitating the project and explained the importance of ICT for certification and phytosanitary issues, pointing out that ICTs can serve as the fastest platform for solving problems in the seeds of sector development.
He conveyed to the stakeholders the support of this initiative due to the large impact on export and import trade and the provision of national agriculture from invasive and new pathogens.
Dr. Lava Kumar, representing R4D IITA Director, Dr. R Asiedu conveyed the warm wishes of the Director and DG IITA, D. Nterai Seginga. He informed the meeting about the commendable partnership with NAC and NASA since the establishment of MITA and the positive impact of the partnership on Nigerian agriculture, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, in ensuring the availability of quality seeds for the country and the region.
He also added that the success of the IITA crop improvement programs depends on the flow of seeds between countries and the dynamic seed sector for the distribution of improved varieties. Continued partnerships with STDF efforts need to make efforts to realize the desired impact of technology and improve the livelihoods of smallholders.
He also assured stakeholders that the project is expected to strengthen the phytosanitary system of the country and will put Nigeria as a qualified player in the international seed market.
Dr Gnonlonfin Benoit, SPS Leader, SPS, USAID / ECOWAS SPS employee, welcomed the team for their efforts to collaborate jointly and gave a summary of all the standardization bodies needed to gain access to the market, and also praised the huge success of ECOWAS in providing a painless subregion. He also stressed the need for electronic certification as a necessary tool for uninterrupted cross-border trade and called on the team to ensure that the terms were met with letters of support from stakeholders.
The export of seed trade depends on compliance with the internal rules for seed production controlled by NASC, and compliance with international phytosanitary standards IPPC and WTO-STDF, controlled by NAQS.
Meeting these commitments requires effective and functional phytosanitary capacity for field inspections, pre-export inspections and the ability to track products along the supply chain, knowledge of pests and pathogens, and stakeholder relationships for timely and cost-effective delivery of services.
Similar rules apply to the export or importation of all types of agricultural goods from / to Nigeria. Nevertheless, several bottlenecks restrict the effective implementation of regulations and support the rapid Nigerian seed industry to use international markets.