• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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NASC educates farmers on adulterated seeds

Tea-farmer
In a bid to boost farmers’ productivity and increase yield per hectare, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has embarked on a nationwide educational enlightenment for farmers across the country.
The campaign is meant to ensure that only quality seeds of proven cultivars get to the Nigerian farmers and educate the public on the activities of unscrupulous seed merchants in order to discourage their inappropriate trade tactics.
“Very stiff punitive measures await violators of the Nigerian Seed Act of 1992, which is currently undergoing amendment by the National Assembly,” Olusegun Ojo, director general, NASC said, during the recent NASC campaign in Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi States.
Ojo described adulteration of seeds as an act of national sabotage. He noted adulteration of seeds would not be tolerated, as agriculture is now becoming the economic base of Nigeria, and seed- the backbone of the sector.
Through the training, the trainee agro-dealers were educated and taught on criteria to consider before buying improved seeds from the seed companies. They were also taken through awareness creation on how to differentiate quality seeds from adulterated and fake seeds.
The exercise, which lasted for four days, was spearheaded by the director general, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) alongside his senior officials, a team of plant breeders from the Institute for Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T) Ibadan, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR/ABU), Zaria and National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi.
Places visited were Hadejia in Jigawa State, Dan Hassan in Kano State and Jega in Kebbi State at pre-control plots sites which was established to authenticate, assess, evaluate and monitor quality attributes of all notified and traded crop seed varieties produced by National Agricultural Research Institutions (NARIS) seed companies, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) for marketing.
These plots help to take informed decision as to withdraw or maintain a particular variety from circulation. Any seed lot that failed to meet the minimum standards during evaluation is not marketed as seed.
Despite the rise in the activities of fake and adulterated seeds, the country’s national seeds production capacity has also increased tremendously. The number of seeds companies in the country has increased from two to more than 80 seeds companies, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.
 JOSEPHINE OKOJIE