The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has sent a strong warning to unscrupulous seed dealers to stop their nefarious activities or face sanctions.
Mr Philip Ojo, the Director-General of NASC, gave the warning during a news conference in Abuja
He said selling of adulterated seeds to farmers had become worrisome to the council, adding that those caught carrying out such activities would be made to face the wrath of the law.
He encouraged farmers to prepare for the 2018 cropping season by buying seeds only from accredited sources in order to ensure bumper yields.
‘‘Let me emphasise that no one, whether a government agency, private, non-governmental, donor or individual, is permitted to do any form of activity or business relating to seed without the notification of the NASC.
‘‘Just as it is against the law for anyone to organise a protest without the permit of the police; it is also a contravention of NASC Act No 72 of 1992 to organise production, distribution or marketing of seeds without the NASC accreditation or permission.
‘‘In recent time, many agencies with genuine intentions of assisting the farmers and making Nigeria food secure have engaged in series of activities on seeds without the collaboration of NASC.
‘‘These actions have resulted in the distortion rather than positively impacting the seed system, thereby permitting some unscrupulous people to hijack the process and defraud our dear farmers.
‘‘From now, henceforth, all agencies that must engage in seed activities at the federal, state and local government levels must get NASC clearance before commencing such activities.
‘‘This directive applies to all international support agencies who, at various times and from various sources, procure seeds using their international procurement criteria without recourse to the laws of Nigeria,’’ he said.
The director-general said that the council has been notified of the importation of poor quality seeds through the country’s borders without clearance and declaration to seeds council.
He gave assurance that the council would not relent in making sure people obey its rules and regulations to enable it discharge its mandate.
Ojo stated that the council was partnering with all relevant government agencies, including the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and the Customs to put an end to it.
According to him, the council is aware that, currently, a lot of entrepreneurs bringing in and marketing vegetable seeds to farmers do so without accreditation with the NASC.
‘‘The Council will be available to support your farming work through our Contact Centre/Farmers Helpline we are about to launch.
‘‘This helpline will afford farmers access the council for firsthand information on seed and other needs. Please reach out to us through 07000073337/070000SEEDS and our website www.seedcouncil.gov.ng.
‘‘We hereby implore Nigerian farmers not to lose hope or relent concerning buying seeds from recognised sources as the council is better positioned to ensure that what they purchase gives them value for their money.
‘‘We are now prepared to make it difficult for any unqualified or unaccredited individual or agency to do seed business in Nigeria.
‘‘Through systemic changes, we are repositioning ourselves as the industry regulators to be more business friendly.
‘‘We are steadily improving transparency and efficiency of service delivery to the Nigerian public,’’ Ojo said