Stakeholders raise alarm over contractors posing as seed companies

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Seed companies and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector have raised alarm over claims that contractors, who had little to do with seeds, often pose as seed companies to access government interventions.

The stakeholders spoke at the end of Feed Africa Advocacy Network Stakeholders Roundtable with the theme: Improving Farmers’ Access to Improved Seeds.

Mr Adeyemi Ayomide from Dizengoff, a seed company, said a lot of politics had gone into the seed business.

He said this was because the contractors got substandard seeds for very cheap amount and disposed at cheaper rates than the real seed companies.

Mr Adesanya Oluwatoyin, a scientist from National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) tasked National Seed Council to take up the challenge as a regulatory body to scrutinise seed companies periodically.

Oluwatoyin noted that such step would help to check alleged sharp practices by some people who often took advantage of opportunities that abound in the seed industry to make quick gains at the detriment of ensuring food security.

Ms Esther Adebayo, from Bayer Nigeria, a seed company, said fears raised about non availability of quality seeds in some quarters were uncalled for, saying the company she works for often ensured standard practice.

Politicisation is one of the reasons for the challenges in system.”

According to her, the quality seeds “sit with the seed companies while the adulterated ones are being patronised because they are cheaper.”

Mr Onwuka Charles, a representative from Nigeria Agriculture Seed Council (NASC), said the mandate of the council was to ensure that “farmers have access to quality seeds”.

He stressed that the challenges facing quality seeds in the country ought to be taken seriously, adding that the council was putting measures in place to checkmate seed companies.