In an effort to provide quality seeds for farmers, as well as to protect the genetic materials of the country, stakeholders in the agricultural sectors reviewed and approved plant protection (PVP), laws aimed at protecting the rights of plant breeders (PBR).
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of the National Council for Agricultural Seeds (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo, said that the meeting was organized because the council found that there was a need to work out a law that would protect the breeders' property rights because we have no or a law in force that could protect the intellectual property of breeders in Nigeria.
According to him, “the agricultural sector of the country can only move forward when the farmers of the country have access to the available crops that can produce the best crop and withstand / tolerate the various stresses that agricultural enterprises currently face.
“Suffice it to say that the country's agricultural system can only move forward, as far as its breeding system allows, which allows it to produce the best genetics for its farmers. When farmers have access to high-performance varieties, they will receive a bumper crop and have a higher economic return on their small efforts due to the use of high-yield and stress-resistant varieties.
“We at NASC believe that a strong PVP system is one vehicle that can help NASC achieve its vision of creating a seed system in Nigeria that is based on a market capable of producing and distributing high-quality and improved planting materials that are available, affordable and affordable for all farmers.
“This will make our mission to transform the Nigerian seed system into a leading seed industry in sub-Saharan Africa worthy of creating foreign currency, a key employer of labor and a positive contribution to the country's economy and the vision of the green alternative government in reality,”
Stakeholders at an expert meeting on plant protection legislation (Right-PBR plant breeders) also said that the law would end the exodus of Nigerian breeders outside the country for more environmentally friendly pastures. They said that the law would protect the intellectual properties of the breeders of Nigeria and encourage them to develop in this sector.
The Acting Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Research Partnership and Relations Program, Mr. Yarama Ndirpaya, said the law is an important tool in the agricultural sector because it gives ownership of the varieties to those who create them. To say that this is done so that a scientist who has spent his time raising something good will earn royalties for him.
“This is a subset of intellectual property rights, which is a practice in agriculture. Because without them, someone can just enter the country and get our genetic resources and go with them. But when our genetic resources are documented and protected, who will ever take them, they will pay patent rights.
“So we’ll stop genetic piracy by protecting our genetic resources. The protection of plant varieties is part of the seed law and does not apply only to biomodified seeds, it is the protection of the natural God provided by genetic resources in our country, ”he said.
In addition, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Chief Program Officer, Agriculture, Mr. Ernest Obi, commending Nigeria’s initiative, said that this law is very important for countries such as Nigeria and the ECOWAS region, since it is intended for the protection of intellectual property in West Africa, and for the protection of rich genetic materials, the region is blessed.
"As you know, we have slots of plant varieties, some of them have left the continent to Europe and America, additional studies have been conducted on these varieties, patented and commercialized, so if we can protect the intellectual property of our breeders on the continent, it will go along the path of our food security, health, trade and economy, ”he said.
He further reported that the Commission had worked very hard to have a biosafety law that would regulate the movement of genetic materials to the region. The law, according to him, is to protect the agricultural potential of the region, the environment and the health of citizens, because “you can’t just let something come from outside, and your people consume it, and you don’t look at the negative impact or connotation of such material.
"Thus, we have a law that he will soon be issued by the political authority of ECOWAS, therefore we address this, this is a very important issue."
Regarding the law on whether the law will affect the national legislation of the member states, Obbi said, however, this is a legal matter, but after the heads of state approve the rules and are published in the ECOWAS newspaper, it will be passed by all members, but we have deviations, because they will come instantly, some later, while others may want to change it to bring it in line with their national laws. But everything that is approved at the regional level becomes the operational weather with which it was busy or not.
Regarding the importance of the law to the Law on Diversity of New Plants, he said that a specific amount cannot be tied to the amount that the law will add to the region’s economy, but that when the region’s genetic resources are protected, the region will benefit more when it adds economic value to genetic materials, because whenever we sell our genetic materials without adding economic values, this means that we export jobs, export opportunities.
“But when they are protected and add to the added value, it creates jobs, improves the economy, the government will pay taxes, the problem of youth unemployment will be solved. Since the ECOWAS Commission pays tribute to the government of Nigeria for coming up with these great initiatives, ”he said.