The Director General, National Agriculture Seeds Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo on Monday appealed to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), AfricaRice to comply with the regulations guiding seed production and distribution in the country.
Beyond the selected international organisations, the Council said other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Faith Based Organizations including Federal Government agencies embarking on agriculture intervention initiatives should ensure they certify their seeds for proper authentication by the NASC.
Dr. Ojo said this became important to reduce seed adulterations and ensure proper seeds and seedlings are made available to farmers.
He explained that the Council is the statutory regulatory body empowered to ensure seeds distributed to farmers are in good condition and capable of producing expected yields.
According to the DG, some seed companies and seed suppliers are in the habit of supplying substandard and unlabeled seeds, adding that firms interested in seed business should comply with the NASC Acts 72 of 1992 as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Harmonized Seed Rules and Regulations.
His words: “The council has continued to receive series of very disturbing complaints from farmers and stakeholders across the country alleging supply and distribution of low quality seeds under different seed-related initiatives and interventions managed by national and international organisations, including government-funded agencies and donor support programmes.
“Having reviewed all the circumstances and unfolding events, I want to, on behalf of the council, make the following very clear and unequivocal statements: all agencies, government, private, donor that intends to conduct seed related activity or program must henceforth be cleared by the Council and also engage the services of seed expert for guidance on the seed regulations.
“All seed-producing entities, including international agricultural centers (IITA,ICRISAT and AfricaRice) must henceforth ensure that all seed classes breeder, foundation and certified produced under their respective projects must henceforth carry appropriate NASC certification tag as the only seal of authentication.”
Dr. Ojo disclosed plans to partner with security operatives to ensure compliance with regulations guiding the seed industry.
He warned that, “non-compliance will be tantamount to disrespect for the law of the land and therefore liable to prosecution.”
Ojo blamed accused seed companies of false seed labeling, unlawful modification and use of tricks to mislead third parties on quality of seeds offered for sale.
He listed other offences to include: “the distribution of animal and human seeds but often treated with dangerous harmful substances thus unfit for consumption.
“Import and export of seed without the knowledge and prior permit of NASC, obstruction of NASC officials during statutory inspection or control activities.
“Non-compliance with conditions for certification and sale of seeds without NASC certification tags.”