The National Agriculture Seeds Council (NASC), has commenced training of officers on the use of the ‘National Seed Tracker’ in its bid to improve the seed system towards a sustainable food and nutritional security in the country.
The three-day Sensitisation and Training Workshop on operations and uses of ‘National Seed Tracker’ themed: New Methods in Seed Certification and Quality Assurance, had seed Certification, Quality Control Officers and stakeholders in agricultural value chain in attendance.
Addressing delegates on the importance of the training in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State on Monday, NASC Director General, Dr Phillip Ojo, said it has become mandatory for all that is involved in seed production, processing and marketing to be accredited to perform its responsibilities.
Ojo who called on certification officers not to truncate the process, urged seed companies to leverage on it and expand their frontiers in local and international seed trade.
He explained that the seed tracker which has been designed to fit the needs of local farmers, has the potential to transform the National Seed system, improve farmers revenue and uplift their social economics status.
On how the App works, Ojo said it will provide real time information on seed variety, quantity, availability, facilitates trade decisions and timely access to seed markets.
While highlighting the place of improved seedling in agricultural value chain, he said private and international agencies engaging in programs of production, distribution of seeds must get concurrence of NASC and involve them from the planning stages.
On penalty for adulterated seed dealers, he highlighted on modification of penalty for infringements to ensure that it is severe enough to serve as a deterrent such as imprisonment for one year or a fine of one million naira for first offender and two million naira for previous offender.
The Director General earlier informed that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the National Agricultural seeds Act, the most important authority for NASC to use for its regulatory responsibilities.
The Director Seeds Certification and Quality Control, NASC, Dr Khalid Ishiak, said the national seed tracker, is a platform that allow every player to know what is happening from production, up to marketing, checks activities of the regulator itself.