Nigeria to provide 6.5 million ‘smart cards’ for improved seeds – Official

Abandoned farmland 1
Abandoned farmland

The Nigerian government has said it will provide 6.5 million smart cards for improved seed containers in the country.

The DG National Agriculture Seed Council (NASC), Philp Ojo, said this during a meeting with some partners in Abuja on Thursday.

The meeting had as its theme “Increasing Production and Dissemination of Quality Early Generation seeds to improve income and food security of Farmers in Nigeria”.

He said the scratch cards will be attached to the seed container and will benefit over two million farmers with a target of 1810 early generation seeds.

Mr Ojo said the electronic turnkey is a new innovation that will be used in the area of seed certification.

Last month, PREMIUM TIMES reported that NASC had continued to demand the use of quality seeds in the Nigerian agricultural sector for better yield.

They said farmers patronise seed merchants who sell them fake seeds that endanger their businesses.

Mr Ojo had warned the fake seed peddlers to desist from further sale of adulterated seeds as the effects are huge.

NASC also announced its transition from analogue to digital certification of seeds.

The aim of the transition is to monitor seeds and improve the agricultural yield across the nation.

Farmers, with the help of the seed tracker, will be able to discern adulterated seeds from anywhere in the world electronically.

Meanwhile, the official said there are specific expectations from the project, ”which will improve the livelihood of the farmers.”

”This will be through increase in their harvest,” he said.

He outlined various challenges facing the industry such as dissemination of the early generation seed which he said had been the problem of the seed industry.

Similarly, the technical adviser to the DG NASC, Folarin Otedola, said funds have been received and will be channelled to ” those concerned”.

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Also speaking at the event, the Country Manager, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Kehinde Makinde, promised to ensure that agriculture has the right kind of priority that will help the sector thrive.

“We are also planning on making the system work and more deliverable, and as regard to that, we are working with different donor agencies and we are looking to work on an efficient seed system,” he said.

Mr Makinde gave the assurance that with the right quality seeds and flexible fertiliser system, ”there will be improvement in the sector.”

How the technology works

Meanwhile, the head, corporate affairs, Chukwudi Madu, said the network uses technology to ensure that farmers have easier access to the agricultural sector

He said the technology puts a system in place to give proper details of the work done on the farm. He also said the system is easy to use through sending of sms.

”Aside from the farmers authenticating the seeds, the seed council has access of checking what seeds are sold and where sold,” he said.

He said every seed company will have a tag and the council will be informed before any action is taken and such will be monitored in real time.

“It has access to the farmers and the seed companies and in a more elaborate form, the site can be used for demonstration for the donor agencies that are involved,” he explained.

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