The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) on Wednesday, commenced nationwide compliance inspection of seed companies in the country.
Dr Philips Olusegun-Ojo, Director-General, NASC, who spoke shortly after the commencement of the exercise at the Premier Seed Company in Zaria, said it was targeted at ensuring the production of quality seeds.
The inspection team, made up of directors, senior officers and other staff of the agency, was expected to go round the North-West.
The DG represented by Mr Agbola Adebayo, Director, Seed Inspectorate, noted that the essence of the visit was also to ensure that Nigerian farmers get quality seeds for their money.
“These are companies that are registered, recognised and accredited by NASC and the exercise is headed by the Director-General himself, Dr Philips Olusegun Ojo.
“We take instructions from him and from time to time he gives us directives on what to do.
“The main aim of this inspection is to ensure that all seed producing agencies roll out quality seeds to all the numerous farmers in Nigeria.
“The only way to achieve that is to make sure that we are on their neck to ensure that all the processes of quality seed production are followed through to the latter. That is what we come to ensure,” he said.
He said the inspectors were on the field to ensure that none of the stages in the production of quality seed was omitted.
“If farmers get top quality seeds, we are sure that the yield will be high, the income will be more, standard of living will be high and Nigeria will be better for it.
“Even in terms of Growth Domestic Product (GDP), it will be better, remember that, the seed council is the only agency in Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of regulating the seed industry.
“So, it is our mandate to make sure that all the players in the seed industry work within the seed rules and regulations,’’ Olusegun-Ojo said.
He said that there were a lot of penalties for defaulting companies, and gave assurance that the exercise was just the first round of the 2018 inspection exercise.
He said the council has the right to seal-off premises of any defaulting company, and confiscate any adulterated seeds offered by such companies.
“The council also has the right to prosecute any of the erring seed companies. We are empowered by the law to actually sanction these people.
“But we believe in dialogue and that is why we are doing this and the moment they are sensitised enough, we hope that the right thing will be done,’’ he noted.
Olusegun-Ojo appealed to Nigerian farmers to embrace the use of improved seeds to boost productivity and enhance national food security