Abuja -The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said national food production increased by 21 million metric tonnes between 2011 and 2014.
Adesina attributed the development to the impact of a rejuvenated seed industry which had been tremendous.’
Adesina, represented by his Senior Technical Adviser, Dr Matthew Fregene, stated this at a National Retreat on Seed, organised by the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) in Abuja on Monday.
“This has surpassed the set target of 20 million metric tonnes set for 2015,’’ he said.
He stressed that high quality seeds must therefore be made readily available, affordable and accessible to all farmers at all times irrespective of their location.
He identified poor seed quality planted by farmers and adulteration of seeds deployed to redemption centres by some companies as some problems facing the sector.
“Since seed is paramount to the survival of agriculture, it must put in place processes for self-regulation,” he said.
He held that efforts must be made to remove all bottlenecks to making quality seeds available to farmers in the Africa.
The minister said a lot had been done to improve seed processing in the country.
According to him, efforts must be made to identify relevant issues and bottlenecks related to smooth growth of the sector and determine the type of interventions needed to make quality seeds available to farmers.
Director General of NASC, Dr Olusegun Ojo, said crop production efforts would not yield the desired result until the issue of quality seeds was adequately addressed.
Ojo said remarkable achievements had been recorded in the seed sector since the commencement of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda under the present administration.
“This include up-scaling the capacity building effort in order to update the skills of the operators in the seed quality assurance.
“Recently skill acquisition training was organised for 295 operators.
“This comprised 120 internal quality control officers of seed companies, 75 seed certification officers, and 100 youth corps members trained on seed quality assurance,’’ Ojo said.
He urged stakeholders in the seed industry to partner fully with the council in order to achieve sustainable availability of good quality seed for Nigerian farmers. NAN)