ABUJA – The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) on Thursday warned seed companies in the country against poor treatment, packaging, and labeling of seeds.
The acting Director-General of the council, Dr Philip Ojo, who gave the warning in Abuja at an interactive forum with registered seed companies, said that he issued the warning based on complaints by farmers.
He said that the interactive session with the seed companies was to discuss how to chart a new course in the distribution of seeds.
“So many cases of untreated or poorly treated seeds, unprocessed and ungraded seeds, tags that are either not stamped or signed, under-weighed seed packages.
“We also discovered that some of the companies use parental materials whose sources are not from our own sources.
“Then at times, materials do not tally with the quantity of seeds produced; some packages contain mixtures of seeds and weeds.
“In some seed packages too, you see two or three varieties and finally failure on the part of some of our own certification officers for not adhering strictly to seed quality and procedure.
“Resulting from all these, NASC management got findings from our committee and companies concerned where categorised into three based on the severity of the infractions.”
Ojo explained that committees on seed deployment and seed adulteration had been set up to tackle complaints and ensure that seed companies abide by the laid down rules of the council.
While cautioning defaulting companies, Ojo said that some companies after investigations had been declared free of infractions and encouraged to employ best methods in seed production.
He said those found wanting would be delisted and their services discontinued from further participation in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme.
He equally harped on the need for quality seeds to ensure that indigenous seed companies market seeds beyond the shores of the country.
Responding to the council’s warning and complaints by some farmers in Niger and Adamawa states, the President, Seed Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), Mr Richard Olafare, said that the association would strive to adhere to best practices.
“The seed industry is still at a nascent stage; we are growing, we are improving, but then it requires all hands on deck.
“It is unfortunate that some of the reported ugly situations are happening in the industry. Quality to that standard that everybody wants is not a day’s journey; it will take us some time.
“It cuts across all boards, the seed companies which are the operators, the research companies.
“The present day SEEDAN executive has taken responsibility for whatever shortcoming that is happening and we want the council to carry us along.
“If there are situations where any of our members is involved, we will be willing to assist you to deal with the need; I assure you, very shortly, we are going to get to that standard.“
He called for capacity building for seed companies, saying that efforts would be intensified to ensure that international standards of seed production and distribution were met. (NAN)