By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has said the newly launched Revised National Agricultural Seed Policy 2022 will ensure more access to improved Quality Seed, boost Food and Nutrition Security as well as encourage participation of Women and Youth in the Seed Value Chain.
Speaking during the event that took place at the Minister’s Conference Room in Abuja, recently, Abubakar said that the New Policy Document was an investment geared toward building a better future for Nigeria’s Agriculture Sector, as Seed was a critical input in enhancing Farmer’s Productivity and boosting the Country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP).
In a statement by the Ministry,the Minister noted that the enactment of the National Agricultural Seed Act, No 21 of 2019 and the Plant Variety Protection Act, No 5 of 2021 has empowered new responsibilities and widened the scope of operations of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).
Dr. Abubakar revealed that the present seed policy document represents the concerted efforts of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and other Stakeholders who had made valuable inputs towards ensuring that farmers have unrestricted access to best genetics to enhance their productivity.
He highlighted some of innovations in the Policy Document to include SEEDCODEX which involves a quality authentication tool and traceability aimed at curbing adulteration and the participation of third-party seed inspectors in the quality assurance process.
He also revealed that the policy had enabled the availability of 89,512.10 MT of assorted improved seed varieties for planting by farmers in the 2023 cropping season.
The Minister lauded the efforts of Development Partners, especially the Feed the Future, Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity (NAIA) of USAID, AGRA, among others for promoting agribusiness in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, the Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo said that the Revised Policy would invigorate the National Seed System ,trigger growth and development to consolidate on the gains as well as reforms made in the Seed Sub Sector.
He stated that the Policy would enhance Federal Government efforts at ensuring that Nigeria is not only food secured, but a net exporter of agricultural produce among League of Nations.
Earlier in his remarks, Chief of Party and Managing Director, USAID Feed – the – Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, (NAIA), Olumide Ojo, represented by Yvonne Isikuemen stated that the policy was significant to the seed industry as it underscores the need to strengthen efforts for quality seeds production, address issues of seed fraud and improve healthy seed supply for the benefit of agricultural productivity and food security in Nigeria.
He said that the review process went through initial data gathering and desk review by an international authority on seed policy, with several stakeholder reviews and validations which culminated in the final approval of the policy in March 2023.
He further revealed that the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity is a five-year USAID-funded program, which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in Nigeria.
Highlight of the event was the unveiling of Revised National Agricultural Seed Policy 2022 Document.
In attendance were the Director General, NASC, Rep. NAIA, Country Rep. AGRA, President, SEEDAN, Rep. Commodity Association among others.