The Department for International Development (DFID) and the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) have appealed to the media and all stakeholders to get involved in the fight against the sale of adulterated seeds.
They made the appeal in Abuja at the Agricultural Seeds Media Dialogue organized by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL-DFID) in collaboration with NASC.
Speaking at the dialogue, the Director-General of NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, noted that seed contributed about 60 per cent of the productivity index of any crop, hence the need to fight the adulteration.
Ojo, represented by Mr. Ishiak Khalid, a Director in the council, said that a directorate of seed inspection has been created in the council to effectively monitor the seed market.Today, we are instituting a strategic agenda with PERL-DFID, which is aimed at strengthening partnerships with actors to tackle service delivery blockages in the seed and other relevant sub-sectors. I wish to assure this gathering that NASC is repositioning and re-strategising to ensure that the country is rid of all spurious and adulterated seeds,’’ he said.
Mrs. Virtuous Igbodika, the Reform Facilitator, PERL-DFID, said that the organization is targeting small holder farmers increased access to and affordability of quality seeds.
Igbodika urged the media to assist the organization in improving farmers’ knowledge, awareness and understanding of the difference between seeds and grains.
Mr. Okelola Folarin, the Technical Adviser to NASC DG, said that seeds are plants used for propagation, while grains are final produce of grain crops used for consumption.
According to him, seeds can be treated with fungicide and pesticide but grains cannot be treated with chemicals.“Seeds comes under the purview of seeds act, but grains comes under the food act,’’ he said.
Chief Daniel Okafor, the Vice President, Root and Tubers of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said that access to quality seeds would be the beginning of farmers’ progress in the country.
The National President, Wheat Farmer Association of Nigeria, called for more sensitization for farmers, especially in the rural areas to differentiate between seeds and grains.
Agricultural stakeholders from the Small Holders Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SWOFON), Seed Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), the media, the Agro-dealer Network attended the dialogue.