Economy and agricultural experts have called for the need to hasten the implementation of the recently passed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act in order to boost agricultural activities and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Nigeria.
This was discussed during the unveiling of the PVP acts and plans for implementation hosted by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) in Lagos on Thursday where it was stated that the accelerated implementation has become pertinent as the country treads on recovery path post-COVID-19.
Laoye Jaiyeola, chief executive officer (CEO), NESG in his address called for the need to urgently pursue conditions that will accelerate the implementation of the PVP Act, noting that Nigeria needs six times more seeds than it currently utilizes in order to fulfill its yield and production potential in agriculture.
He added that it will also aid the fight against food scarcity threat as affordability, availability, and accessibility to nutritious foods is becoming increasingly difficult for 52 million Nigerians.
“There is no doubt that the implementation of the PVP Act will position Nigeria to feed her growing population and equally attract foreign investments into the Seed sub-sector as well as enjoy the gains of intra- and inter-border trade opportunities in seed trade and exports,” he said.
He urged that enabling tools and environment remains vital for plant breeders and farmers to thrive and offer solutions to these challenges of food insecurity, particularly by tackling high-level insecurity for sustainable and inclusive seeds systems and agricultural transformation.
“The development and uptake of innovative and support systems will remove the binding constraints with seed security and better productivity within the agriculture sector,” he said.
Phillip Olusegun Ojo, director-general, NASC said as the PVP Act is being implemented, it will attract national and multinational agribusiness investments in the country as farmers experience high quality and increased yield, which can resist pests and diseases.
“We will begin to witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result of the increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country,” he said.
The DG also called for the support of other stakeholders and partners to ensure the full implementation of an efficient PVP system in Nigeria, adding that the NASC is working to develop supporting regulations that will help implement the Act.
Chiedozie Egesi, president, Nigeria Plant Breeders Association (NPBA) in his remarks mentioned that the Act is one of the parameters for economic diversification and growth adding that beyond boosting the country’s export profile, internal seed breeding will boost the agricultural sector
Egesi who was represented by Dorcas Ibitoye, assistant director of research National Horticultural Research Institute said the passage and implementation of the PVP Bill will give Plant breeders intellectual property over a new plant variety, with exclusive rights to commercialize seed.
According to the NESG, following the passage and implementation of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) bill, Nigeria will increase its export proceeds by $2 billion from seeds export within the first 5 years
The PVP Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on the 17th of December 2020 and the Nigerian senate on the 3rd of March 2021, following several months of deliberation. It was signed into law on the 21st of May, 2021.