The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Chairman of the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Chief Audu Ogbeh, last week commissioned a Molecular Diagnostic Facility of the Central Seeds Testing laboratory.
The facility, sponsored by the Bill and Merlinda Gates Foundation, was the highlight of this year’s Seeds Fair and Farmers’ Field Day cerebration at NASC headquarters, Sheda Abuja.
According to Ogbeh, NASC in its regulating activities has put in place a molecular laboratory for diagnosis of prevalent diseases that limit crop yields, especially those that are not visible.
He used the opportunity to commend the Bill and Merlinda Gates Foundation for sponsoring the laudable project through its basic programme on the development of the cassava seed system.
The Minister stated that it is worthy to note that NASC has over the years kept faith in its drive to ensure availability of quality seeds for farmers, adding that the Seed Fair and Farmers’ Day is being used as a platform for creating awareness among farmers and the farming communities to showcase the different highly improved crop varieties that can enhance productivity, thereby enhancing national food security.
He promised that the Federal Government would strengthen NASC to enforce the seed laws and continue to deter those defrauding farmers through sale of low quality seeds, revealing that 52 percent of inputs in agriculture are seeds or seedlings while fertilizer, pests, chemical etc are supportive.
Ogbeh, in his remark, said that; “government is aware of the flood disaster that befall our big time farmers and some states like Jigawa, Anambra, Kebbi, Kogi, and hopes to find a way to reach out to the victims as to enable them return to business.”
He revealed that a new variety of rice tagged faro 66 and 67 which is flood resistance has been developed, adding that the government is planning to get them in large quantities for farmers.
He also urged the farmers to replant as soon as the rain subsides.