The director-general (DG) of the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) Dr Olusegun Ojo, has said that very stiff punitive measures await violators of the Nigerian Seed Act No. 72 of 1992 which is currently undergoing amendment by the National Assembly.
Ojo described adulteration of seeds as an act of national sabotage, positing that adulteration of seeds will not be tolerated as agriculture is now becoming the economic base of Nigeria and seed is the backbone of the sector.
He noted that “in the past four years, Nigeria’s national seed production capacity has tremendously increased. Alongside this was a rise in the activities of unscrupulous seed merchants selling adulterated seed to unsuspecting farmers, a situation that has been leading to crop failure.
“To reverse this undesirable trend which could jeopardise the gains made within the period, and to ensure that only quality seeds of proven cultivars get to the Nigerian farmers in the 2016 wet season, the NASC embarked on a nationwide educational enlightenment in Kano, Jigawa, and Kebbi states recently. The campaigns were meant to educate the public on the activities of the unscrupulous seed merchant in North Western Nigeria and to discourage such inappropriate trade tactics.”
The exercise, which lasted for four days, was spearheaded by the DG, in company with his senior officials, a team of plant breeders from the Institute for Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR/ABU), Zaria, and National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi.
During the training, the trainee agrodealers were educated on the criteria to consider before buying improved seeds from seed companies. They were also taken through awareness creation on how to differentiate quality seeds from adulterated and fake seeds. Places visited were pre-control plot sites at Hadejia, Jigawa State, Dan Hassan, Kano State and Jega, Kebbi State established to authenticate, assess, evaluate and monitor quality attributes of all notified and traded crop seed varieties produced by the National Agricultural Research Institutions (NARIS) seed companies, and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) for marketing.