Stakeholders Discuss Nigerian Seed System to Boost Food Security

Stakeholders in the seed sub sector have met at a one day workshop in Abuja Nigeria’s capital to chart a way forward on how Nigerian farmers can access quality high yielding certified seeds to boost farmer’s earnings and food security.

Access to quality seeds that are certified by the National Agricultural Seed Council by farmers is a major challenge as some farmers settle for the use of grains as seeds and those that go the extra miles to get seeds sometimes end up with fake or adulterated ones.

The deployment of technological aid in the distribution of seeds to farmers is an area seed stakeholders are willing to explore in order to get quality seeds to farmers.

Technology in the seed system
United State Aid (USAID) through its Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity in collaboration with National Agricultural Seed Council and Interra Network and other stakeholders came together to discuss technology in the seed system at the Nigeria Seed Information Management System (NIGSIMS) workshop tagged “The Nigerian Seed Ecosystem; Ensuring the prosperity of the Nigerian farmer.


The stakeholders were of the opinion that measures have to be taken to ensure farmers get access to quality seed.

Speaking during the workshop, the Chief of Party Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Margarita Aswani said The Nigerian Agricultural Seed Information Management System workshop is positioned to boost agricultural yields and improve food security by supporting smallholder farmers to access high quality certified seeds.

“The Nigerian Agricultural Seed Information Management System is an integral aspect of our work that can lead to increased yields and therefore improved food security in the North East, by supporting smallholder farmers to access high quality certified seeds, promote awareness of good agricultural practices, create and strengthen where it exists, the seed marketplace,” she said
National seed regulations
She noted that a well-functioning seed system would help farmers to adapt to local and global challenges, such as climate change, while complying with national seed regulations, and empowering disadvantaged groups such as women and youth to participate where they have otherwise been excluded.

 
“I am certain that today we will explore opportunities for growing the Nigerian seed market, ensuring the prosperity of Nigerian farmers through the use of technology.

I therefore encourage all of you to contribute today to the plans for the future, and I look forward to understanding how the Seed Information Management System will help us to solve critical challenges in the sector and for the North East in particular.


 
An online platform where farmers can log into or call and order for certified seed to be delivered to them, at least 5km away from their location is being perfected by Interra Networks one of the stakeholders at the workshop was presented to stakeholders.

Access certified seeds
While explaining how the platform works, Mr.

David Onu from Interra Network explained that the system is a market place where farmers get to meet Seed Companies, access certified seeds and seed companies get access to farmers.

He gave instances where insecurities in the North east may prevent seed companies from going over to the region, noting that in such cases the online platform would take care of getting the seeds to the farmers.

The representative of the Director General of the National Agricultural Seed Council Mr.

Folarin Okelola said the council being the body in charge of regulating the seed sector in the country supports the use of technology to sanitise the sub sector as the council has deployed technologies in the past like the council’s SEEDCODEX.

Mr.

Okelola added that the online seed market innovation is a welcomed development that would further address the challenges in the seed sub sector.

“Three years ago we introduced the SEEDCODEX, that is the electronic authentication system that help us to track and trace all seeds that are in the market in Nigeria…we are happy today that we are here discussing an innovation that the MD/CEO of Interra has been pushing for well over six years”
“And we happy that USAID/Feed the Future decided to be the champion that would help us pilot this initiative to help correct the anomalies in the Nigerian seed industry,” he stated.

He said the council was eager to see the Nigeria Seed Information Management System (NIGSIMS) implemented so that they can accelerate it to every part of the country while also stating that the council is ready and willing to partner with stakeholders to sanitise the seed sub sector.

Mr.

Okelola added that the council would be providing technical support to see to the implementation of the Nigeria Seed Information Management System (NIGSIMS).

Over time stakeholders in the seed sub sector in the country spearheaded by the National Agricultural Seed Council have been putting modalities in place to check fake and adulterated seeds in circulation, ensure farmers get access to seed and sensitize farmers on the importance of improved seeds.

 
Lateefah Ibrahim
Stakeholders Discuss Nigerian Seed System to Boost Food Security

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