The Federal Government said it aimed to reach about 20 million farmers with fertilisers for the 2015 farming season.
This was stated by the Acting Director-General, National Agricultural Seed Councils, NASC, Philips Olusegun-Ojo, at the opening of a three-day training on seed certification and quality control at the Institute of Agricultural Research, IAR, Zaria.
He said over 90 per cent of Nigerian farmers were contacted in 2014 under the Growth Enhancement Support, GES, scheme of the Federal Government.
“Before the introduction of GES, only 11 per cent of Nigerian farmers got fertilisers,” Mr. Olusegun-Ojo said. “But now, over 90 per cent receive the commodity from their redemption centres.”
He said, in view of the success recorded by GES in Nigeria, countries like China, Brazil, Kenya and Tanzania, have been coming to borrow a leave from Nigeria on how to boost the production capacity of their farmers.
The training, organised by the council, had corps members, NASC certification officers, internal quality control and seed production officers of seed companies as participants.
The Director applauded the Federal Government’s initiative in introducing the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, ATA, aimed at creating jobs for Nigerians apart from facilitating the attainment of national food security.
He noted that ATA had succeeded in encouraging farmers to see farming as a business and not as an inherited traditional profession with bleak future.
All tiers of government, cooperative societies, private organisations as well as individuals, he said, were partners in progress as far as agricultural transformation was concerned.
He, however, observed that some state governments were reluctant in extending the necessary support to enhance the success of ATA in their respective states, adding that the task of making high quality seeds available to the farming population was enormous.
The NASC Regional Head, North-West Zone, Mohammed Ubandoma, in his introductory remarks said the training was one of the ways to augment the efforts of ATA to sensitise and train stakeholders as part of government’s efforts to ensure food security.
He explained that it was necessary to acquaint stakeholders with seed production and quality control techniques.
The training was a collective responsibility towards ensuring quality seed production for consumption as well as agro-industries through the value chain approach.