An association of partners who are involved in the Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (IATA), has revealed strategies to devote about $1.9 million (over N685 million) to fund seed companies in the production of quality first generation seeds for farmers in Nigeria.
See Also: Being a creator economy through Agriculture.
Aim Of The Project.
Speaking during the inauguration planning and review meeting of the consortium, yesterday, in Abuja, Kehinde Makinde, the Country Director, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) said the main objective of the project among others, include increasing production and distribution of first-generation seeds to seed companies to check counterfeiting of seeds.
He further stated that the fund would be divided among the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Premiere Seeds and Value seeds, while emphasizing that the focus is to reach 2 million farmers with improved and certified rice, soya bean, and maize seeds.
Also gracing the event was Dr. Philip Ojo, the Director-General, NASC, who said Nigeria requires about 400,000 metric tonnes (MT) of endorsed seeds every year, adding that the prearrangement of 1,810 MT of foundation seeds would, guarantee that seed companies are able to meet demand.
Ojo said: “It is actually our way to ensure that only good quality seeds are made available to farmers; and farmers are no longer surcharged, and to enable farmers know that what they are buying are authentic to improve productivity and food security.”
In order to ensure timely distribution of the seeds to the family, Ojo said “private seed companies would work to ensure that there is adequate quantity of early generation seeds to have good quality seeds at the farmers end.”
He said the NASC would control activities of the seed companies, and provide quality assurance mechanism to make certain that what they bring out is the best quality.
“We are also going to ensure that after producing, the tags that go on those seeds are smart tags that farmers can get better assurance that these are quality seeds,” he said.
The three-year project is being financed by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), United State Agency for International Development (USAID), the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector At A Glance.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is a major oil producing nation with a population of over 190 million people, and an average growth rate of about 3% year-on-year. With her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at about $500 billion, earnings from crude oil and gas exports represent approximately 80% of the country’s total revenue.
The Nigerian agricultural sector is dominated majorly by smallholder farmers who on the average, work on 4–5 acres of land each, in rain-fed situations. Most of these farmers lack the skills of modern practices, insufficient capital and own little or no farm implements of their own.