* Nigeria still struggle to meet seed deficits
Says continuous sensitisation will reduce sales of fake seeds
From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja
Annual dearth of seed supply remains a huge business opportunity for agribusiness experts, Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Phillip Ojo has said.
Ojo said the nation still struggle to meet its seed need, adding that the quantity of fake seeds in circulation between 2012 to 2016 has decreased by 81 per cent.
The DG explained that by year 2020, the requirement of certified seed would be 441,800 Mt which is approximately N143 Billion.
Dr. Ojo, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, at the second edition of the SeedConnect 2019 with the themed “Enhancing the Potentials of the Nigerian Seed Industry.” It brought seed stakeholders from within and outside the country.
His words: “In 2018, the total certified seed produced for 7 major crops, Maize, Rice, Sorghum, Cowpea, groundnut , Millet and Soybean was 72,951Metric tonnes
“But the actual requirement was 422,229 metric tonnes leaving a deficit of 349,227 metric tonnes, worth over N130 billion.
“By year 2020, the requirement of certified seed will be 441,800 metric tonnes which is approximately N143 Billion.
“This is a huge business opportunity waiting to be tapped. This is also a huge space for private companies to compete in it”.
He added that, “With the position Nigeria occupies in the region, there has to be concerted efforts to ensure quality seeds are traded in the country.
“So much efforts has been taken by sensitisation and surveillance of the seed market, liaising with state government and through collaboration with private partners.
“Continuous efforts have been made by council to curb these activities through market sensitisation and market raids for fake seeds before and during planting season.
“We are optimistic that the percentage of fake seeds in circulation will keep declining with more sensitisation and awareness’s campaign.”
According to Ojo, despite the large volumes of seed produced currently, the country is still experiencing wide gap between seed supplied and quantity required.
Speaking on the conference, the DG described it as an opportunity for stakeholders across West Africa to exchange ideas with each other and update their seed business skills.
“It is something that is beyond Nigeria that is why it is called seed connect Africa and this the second edition.
“The focus is to build upon what we did last year, looking at the gap that is in the industry, the potentials and opportunities that are there for the seed companies to tapped.”
In his remarks, Mr Richard Olafare, President, Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) said the association started with capacity to produce only about 5,000 metric tonnes of quality seeds 12 years ago but today, they have the capacity to produce over a 100,000 metric tonnes of quality seeds.
Mr Munir Babagana, Representative of Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, spoke on the seed bill.
He disclosed that the Seed Bill has been passed by the National Assembly but yet to be approved by the President.