Okwe Obi, Abuja
Nigeria Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), has projected a bountiful harvest of N423 billion from certified seeds (CS) production like Maize, Rice, Sorghum, Cowpea and groundnut, before the end of 2019.
Its Director General, Dr Philip Ojo, said this yesterday in Abuja, at the 2019 conference on seed connect entitled: ‘Enhancing the potential of the Nigerian seed industry.’
He said: “Despite the large volumes of seed produced and serving the sub region, the country is still grossly experiencing wide gap between the supply and the actual requirement.
“In 2018, the total certified seed produced for the seven major crops (maize, rice, sorghum, cowpea, groundnut , millet and soybean) was 72,951mt, but the actual requirement was 422,229mt leaving a deficit of 349,227mt worth over N130 billion naira ($450 million).
“By year 2020, the requirement of CS will be 441,800 mt which is approximately N143 billion ($472million) this is a huge business opportunity waiting to be tapped.
“By the end of 2019, the total value of CS requirement is worth N423billion (USD $1.3 billion). This is huge enough space for companies to compete for.
A breakdown of actual and requirement of these 7 main seeds is projected below.”
Ojo hinted the Council’s plan to track and monitor seed certification electronically with the use a device called Seed Tracker.
“Every seed certified will be traced electronically to enhance efficiency.”
He disclosed that Nigeria is responsible for over 60 to 70 per cent of seeds used in West Africa.
“We are producing 60 to 70 per cent of seeds used in west Africa. We are encouraging them to increase their outlets so that farmers, especially those in villages can have access to quality seeds,” he added.
Meanwhile, the President of Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), Richard Olafare, explained that the proliferation of adulterated seeds posed a serous problem for the entrepreneurs.
“The seed industry is still faced with series of challenges like; adulteration, recycling of seeds round-tripping, side-selling, poor funding and lack of access to finance.”