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Nigeria, Netherlands launch 4yr Collaborative Seed Programme to drive food security

Nigeria and The Netherlands have launched a four-year Collaborative Seed Programme (CSP) to sustainably address major challenges in the Nigerian seed sector.

The programme, which was launched at a virtual event organized by Sahel Consulting on Wednesday, will bring together stakeholders in the Nigerian and Dutch seed sector to enhance the performance of Nigeria’s seed sector.

It will contribute to the vision of the National Seed Roadmap and ensure that smallholder farmers in Africa’s most populous country have access to adequate, secure, and timely supply of quality seeds to boost their productivity.

“Partnerships have been on the heart of the Netherlands success in the agri-food sector and nobody can attain food security in Nigeria alone,” said Harry Van Dijk, The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, during the virtual launch.

“We need collaboration between governments, entrepreneurs, civil societies, and research institutions to attain food security. The Collaborative Seed Programme is the newest initiative under the umbrella of the Nigeria-Netherlands seed partnerships,” Dijk said.

He noted that working closely together with Nigeria on the seed system would help step up efforts to meet local demand for quality seeds for sustainable and healthy food in the country.

He stated that making use of high-quality seeds is a vital step in increasing food production, saying it is the major reason the Dutch government has decided to invest in the CSP initiative.

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The CSP initiative focuses on eight topics drawn from the 22 Strategic Innovation Pathways (SIPs) of the country’s national seed roadmap.

It will involve training and capacity building for seed companies and other stakeholders in the value as well as knowledge transfer.

The CSP partners are Sahel Consulting, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), SEEDAN, Nigerian seed companies, Wageningen University &Research, Dutch seed companies, among others.

Sahel Consulting and NASC will oversee the regulation of the programme in Nigeria.

Since 2019, The Netherlands and other partners have supported the Nigerian government to explore opportunities in the seed and horticulture sectors.

This support led to the joint development of the National Seed Roadmaps which formed the basis of the CSP initiative.

Sabo Nanono, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, who was represented by Karima Babangida, director at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said that the government is committed to promoting the agricultural sector by unleashing its potentials to drive food and nutrition security, economic diversification, and job creation.

The minister stressed that the seed sector is at the core of attaining the country’s agricultural sector targets.

“It is important that the CSP initiative seeks to address the key challenges in the seed sector with the overall goal to strengthen our seed systems,” Nanono said.

“Quality seed is the fuel for agricultural development and availably of wide range varieties of quality seed is the key to attaining food security.

“Today, I launch the CSP for the good of the Nigerian farmers,” he said.

He appreciated The Netherlands and its institutions for their continuous contribution to Nigeria’s seed sector, saying the ministry would continue to provide all the necessary support to improve the country’s seed system.

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