As farmer prepares for the 2019 farming season, the need for quality seeds once more came to the fore at the SeedConnect conference starting today, JOHN OBA reports.
Records have it that Nigeria produces 70 per cent seed in the West Africa sub region, however, this further raises concern over the level of fake and adulterated seeds in the market. This is coupled with the high rate of low level awareness of the importance of good quality among many farmers.
As farmer prepares to plant, the fear in the mind of many is how to get quality seeds. To many small holder farmers, especially women, making a choice for quality seeds is not as simple as it sounds. This is a challenge many are facing as they try to choose the best seed that can work optimally and give quality yields.
Years ago, most Nigeria farmers don’t give much thought to the type of seeds that best suit their farms and the impact of such seeds during the time of harvest. But with the clamour to see agriculture as business coupled with current economic situation that has forced many people back to farm, that has changed.
Nowadays, it is important for farmers to consider the type of seeds they plant in order to overcome the problem of low yield.
Recently, the Director-General, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, (NAQS) Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said healthy crops are usually products of healthy and quality seeds, and that the inability of many Nigerian farmers to export their produce is also due to the use of lesser quality seeds that do not meet relevant international requirements on the health of plants that are meant for export. This development, according to Isegbe, is impeding foreign trade between Nigeria and other countries.
Armed with this, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), is set to organise the 2019 Seedconnect Conference and Expo in Abuja from 15th-16th of April 2019, to bring stakeholders in the seed sector together to brainstorm on the impact of low quality seeds on the sector and the need for provision of improved quality seeds.
Speaking during a march from the Federal Secretariat to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to press home its call for quality seeds in the Nigerian Agricultural sector for better yield in food production across the country, NASC Director General, Dr. Philip Ojo, disclosed that the rally was to create further awareness on the need for farmers to patronize quality seed in order to get bumper harvests, rather than patronizing fake seed dealers who end up selling adulterated seeds to them.
Ojo said the 2019 SeedConnect is expected to bring together relevant stakeholders from within and outside the country to deliberate on the way forward on the use of quality seed for increased productivity and the introduction of farmers to new technologies.
He used the opportunity to warn fake seed peddlers to desist from selling adulterated seeds as the effect on food security is huge.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who was represented by the Director, Cooperatives in the ministry, Mr Quadri Olalekan, said farmers need to key into the use of quality seed to enable their crops perform better.
He warned perpetrators of adulterated seed to desist from such as the ministry will do everything possible to make sure they face the wrath of the law if caught.
The Country Director of OFAB, Dr. Rose Gidado, said that it was necessary for farmers to adopt the use of improved technology in order to ensure increased production of food across the country. She urged them to buy quality seeds from recognized seed smerchants.
“The only source of livelihood is the bumper harvest made by farmers, thereby employing that the use of improved facilities and technology be used by the seed merchants to encourage the farmers to produce more to meet with human consumptions,” she said.
Cashew farmers rejects introduction of new variety
….question rationale behind certification
by John Oba
The Cashew Farmers Union of Nigeria (CFUN) has rejected the attempt by individual to introduce foreign variety of cashew into the country, wondering why Nigeria W320 variety adjudged to be the best in the world should not be improved upon.
Speaking on Thursday, at the Health of Mother Health Foundation (HOMEF) stake holders conference on seed in Abuja, the contact and liaison officer, of the Union, Mr. Yenusa Gabriel Enemali, noted that rather than corrupt the Nigerian variety with a variety that has not been certified, it should be improved upon.
Enemali wonder why the country should always be an experiment ground for every improved, uncertified seeds.
“It is of a fact that cashew from Nigeria especially the Middle Belt with precision on Kogi state, that is Kogi East, ours is one of the best in the world, which is the , recognised all over the world as the best.
“It is not chemicalised, it is organic, now they are telling us that they are bringing a new improved seedlings, called H130. The question is if W320 is good and acceptable worldwide, why are they bringing, H130? Who are the people that certified bringing this into the country, and what is going to be the difference between all these, because I am aware of all forms of modifications in the agric sector. I hope they are not going to bring in all manners of cancers and diseases that doesn’t have solution, these were my fears.
“This new variety is coming from India, and if they are bringing this, what happens to our own that is organic, acceptable and best worldwide. The one they are bringing is not organic. So we are asking, who are the people that certified this in the country, the time has come that we protect our own or else we will have not future. Because of money, some people will just sit down and put things together.
“Since no one has certified, planted or cleared it, it should be stopped until we ascertain it. Give it to me, let me plant it on my soil where I don’t apply fertilizer or chemicals and may be after six or seven years, we can them compare this new variety with our indigenous one,” he said.
He said cashew has the potential to surpasses crude oil, saying Nigeria have ten states that produce cashew with Kogi state as the number one cashew producing state.
According to him, nothing is wasted in cashew production. He said, “from the leaf of cashew to the apple, nuts, none is a waste. From cashew, you can get ethanol, we have the oil which is in equal pal with olive oil, the cholesterol is zero, but because attention is focused on the nut, people don’t ask about the oil. We are producing it locally, and we are working on how to mass produce all it.”
Disclosing that the association has 30,000 members across the country, Enemali said about 1430 of them have been captured biometrically.
On farmers’ challenges in the sector, the association chairman said too many middlemen were making it difficult for the farmers to enjoy their labour financially.
“The cashew business has too many middle men involve that are defrauding the farmers, but the association is working to stop it,
“The association is working to stop the middle men, so we can deal with the buyers directly. Either local or international buyers, that was what made us to register the association with relevant agencies,” he said.