Gwagwalada (FCT) – The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) has held an awareness campaign on the benefits of improved seeds to increase the nation’s food production.
In his address at the occasion in Abuja, Mr Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said the government, through NASC, has ensured that improved seeds were available for farmers’ cultivation every year.
He said the public and private sectors are being assisted to ensure that improved seeds are made available to farming communities to increase agricultural production in the country.
“Increase in awareness of improved quality seeds will go a long way to boost productivity,“ he said.
According to him, the campaign is aimed at showcasing the potential of newly improved crop varieties for farmers to adopt in order to boost their productivity.
Echono further said that the event would assist in enlightening farmers and students on the benefits of using improved seeds as against the farmer’s saved seeds.
He said the ministry and NASC are working closely with the traditional rulers to create awareness for farmers to adopt and utilise high quality and high-yielding seeds.
“We also demonstrate to farmers what the outcome of using improved seeds will be if carried out according to instructions by our extension service workers.“
He warned farmers not to patronise adulterated seeds, which he said abound in different parts of the country.
He said the ministry had adopted measures to curb the menace of the unscrupulous seed merchants.
He gave assurance that the seed council, which has the statutory responsibility of enforcing the provisions of seed law as it relates to selling fake and adulterated seeds, would ensure that the problem was addressed.
Earlier, Mr Olusegun Ojo, NASC’s Director-General, said that the council had organised farmers fields day in order to enlighten farmers on the importance of improved seeds without the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme roll out.
Ojo added that the council was doing seed promotional activities annually to demonstrate superiority of high quality improved seeds over the local ones as a strategy to encourage seed diffusion.
The director-general, who advised farmers to buy seeds from reputable seed companies or argo-dealers, urged farmers to look for the council’s blue certification to ascertain quality seeds.
“Any seed package offered for sale without the seal of the NASC certification tag is fake and should not be purchased,” he warned.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fake and adulterated seeds collected from different parts of the country were destroyed publicly to demonstrate the seriousness to curb the menace.
NAN also reports that stakeholders were showed new improved seeds by different seed companies at the demonstration centres. (NAN)