Nigeria’s membership of the International Seed Trade Movement has helped in standardising seed production and distribution in the country, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has said.
He spoke at the West Africa Regional Seed and Seedling Committee Meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mustapha Umar, the minister said the government was working to become the region’s hub for excellent seed practices.
He said Nigeria has gone ahead of other countries by introducing molecular diagnostic laboratory for seed testing.
“In the same vein, we are enhancing our capacity for seed testing as we are now a member of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).
“We have moved from visual to diagnostic certification with the establishment of our molecular diagnostic laboratory in our head office in Sheda,” he said.
“In a few years to come, Nigeria will transform to become a regional hub for seed industry capacity development as we are doing everything to position the NASC office complex to become a centre of excellence for seed sector development in West Africa.”
Mr Shanono said the seed sector we will provide capacity development programmes and other services for neighbouring countries.
Representatives from 17 countries are meeting in Abuja to seek free movement of seeds across borders within the region.
Premium Times also learnt that the meeting would also assess and evaluate the progress made by member countries in implementing harmonised regulations on seed production and trade.
The 5th Session of the West Africa Regional Seed and Seedling Committee Meeting said CORAF, in collaboration with West Africa Regional and Seedling Committee (WARSSC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and others, were working out strategies to end fake seed trade, and also ensure a robust seed industry in the region, without violating member countries laws.
The Executive Director of CORAF, Abdou Tenkouano, said countries in the region have been working assiduously to produce a harmonised seed industry regulations that will ensure that farmers get access to quality seeds.
“Harmonised laws and regulations provide the right conditions for promoting seed production and quality control, they provide the basis for healthy competition between seed companies, promote the free movement of seeds across borders and provide farmers with access to high quality seeds,” he said.