Agric seed council to introduce authentication measures

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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The National Agriculture Seed Council, NASC, has assured farmers that it is planning to introduce measures of authenticating the certification tags on seeds to confirm their genuineness before purchase.

The Director-General, NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, made the disclosure while addressing participants at a two-day training for seed law enforcers, held at the South-West Region Office of the Council, in Ibadan.

The participants in the training included seed law enforcement officers from the South-West, South-South states and security operatives

The Council revealed that in the last two years, it has prosecuted two adulterated seed dealers and arrested many who are in the business of selling substandard seeds to farmers and stakeholders.

Ojo said the prosecution and arrest of the offenders is to serve as a deterrent to other farmers dealing in adulterated farm seeds. It is also to boost the chances of farm produce going to other countries from Nigeria, as a way of improving the nation’s Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), through exports.

The Director-General, who was represented by the Director, Seed Inspectorate, NASC, Mr. Adebayo Agboola assured farmers that the Council, through the Seed Law Enforcement Unit, will work towards making dealers sell only quality seeds that will guarantee  good yield for farmers.

Ojo noted that the Enforcement Unit, inaugurated barely two years ago, is penetrating the markets and farmers associations to ascertain compliance with the approved standard before purchase is made.

He said, “Now we have a lot of seed inspectors all over the states of the Federation going through seed markets and actually ensuring that whatever seed is offered for sale meets the minimum seed standard.

Erring seed dealers are arrested on a regular basis and most of their seeds that are found to be adulterated are being confiscated regularly without recourse to their status in the community or the connections they have,” he explained.

Ojo asserted that the council has no regard for individuals when it comes to discharging its duties.

He said, “Presently, the Council is trying to bring in authentication system of the certification tag. We want

to make sure that the certification tag that will now be affixed to seeds to be sold in Nigerian markets will be such that the farmers can scratch the foil portion and call the number under the foil if they notice any adulteration or want to be sure of the standard and quality of the packaged seed.”

He also said that whenever a report is made of dealers in adulterated seeds, the Council will swing into action to ensure that the culprit is apprehended.

The Director-General further assured that the training would expose all the trainees to the various revised laws on seeds, as well as the technologies that will help them deliver on their assignment.