The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh was seen at the National Agriculture Seed Council Annual Seed Fair and Farmers’ Field Day performing the symbolic burning of confiscated poor quality seeds.
The Minister spoke at the Annual Seed Fair and Farmers’ Field Day emphasizing the need for high quality seeds for planting in order to enhance good agricultural products.
“This Administration is committed to safeguarding the livelihoods of our farmers. As part of measures to curb the menace of fake seed merchants, we have put in place a Seed law enforcement surveillance mounted by our seed inspectors in all states of the Federation”says Audu Ogbeh.
Speaking at the event, the Minister also described how the quality of seed as paramount to enhancing agricultural productivity in the country as this contributes more than 50% of increased crops production per unit area and is also a critical input in ensuring the efficiency of other agricultural inputs
Audu Ogbeh who chaired this year’s Annual Seed Fair and Farmers’ Day was also given the honor of commissioning The National Agriculture Seed Council Molecular Facility which took place on Thursday 4th October.
The Minister says that if appropriate measures are not taken to replant after the recent flood in the country there might be shortage of rice in the country in the coming years. He said that the flood affected majorly the rice producing states, adding that if this issue is not properly addressed there will definitely be scarcity of rice in Nigeria.
“We have to find out a way to assist farmers, who were affected by the flood; places like Jigawa, Kebbi, Anambra and Kogi were majorly affected. Farmers lost everything they planted.
“There are different varieties of rice that are being produced at NASC like faro 66 and 67 which are flood tolerant.
“We hope to get them into the field in large quantity for farmers to plant in the near future.
“We are also hoping that as soon as the rain seized, we are encouraging farmers to replant so that the residual moisture on the soil plus irrigation can give us another crop by the end of December or early January.
“Otherwise, we will be in serious trouble for rice, millet, sorghum and maize next year,”He said.
The Minster of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, also expressed his pleasure for chairing this year’s Annual Seed Fair and Farmers’ Day and for the opening of the Molecular Facility which was the major highlight of the day.
“It is quite heartwarming to note that NASC has over the years kept faith in its drive to ensure the availability of quality seeds to farmers.
Also, this event is being used as a platform for creating awareness among our great farmers and the farming communities to showcase the different improved crop varieties that can enhance the productivity and increase national food security.”
See below more photos from the event:
Also speaking at the event, Philip Ojo, the Director-General of the National Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) said the 2018 event was opened with Road Walk from the Federal Secretariat to the Ministry of Agriculture.
“This was followed by a Symposium. All the events were geared towards creating improved seeds awareness among our great farmers and the farming communities, especially in the Federal Capital Territory.
I wish to state categorically that improved seed use is the most cost effective means of enhancing agricultural productivity.
It is important to inform you all that between the 2017 and 2018, a lot of successes have been achieved in the Nigerian Seed industry.
NASC collaborations with other stakeholders have started yielded positive results such as the NASC Molecular Facility that will soon be inaugurated.
The facility which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the BASICS Programme will help in the development of the Cassava Seed System in the country and enhance productivity,” he said.
The Director-General, Philip Ojo, also appealed to the state governors to support the agency in order to step up the agency’s regulatory activities to rid the market of fake and adulterated seeds.
The yearly event has the “Enhancing Improved Seed Adoption Towards Achieving Food Security and Wealth Creation.” as its themed for 2018