By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja – The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, has called for effective production and distribution of quality seeds to farmers to boost the country’s agricultural output, according to his aide, Turaki Hassan.
Hassan, the Special Adviser on Media Public Affairs, to Dogara said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
Hassan said Dogara made the call when he visited Premier Seeds Nigeria Limited, Zaria in Kaduna state.
He quoted the speaker as saying that the call became imperative in view of the need to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production.
Dogara also said that effective production and distribution of seeds to farmers would create over 40 million jobs for the unemployed population in the country.
“With coordinated support from the executive and the legislature for companies that produce and distribute high breed seeds to farmers, Nigeria will become food sufficient.
‘’The standard of living of its citizens will also improve.
“If the revolution in agriculture is going to be anything, it must start with the production and distribution of quality seeds.
“Agriculture has the potential of being the highest employer of labour in this country.
“Between 40 and 70 million jobs in agriculture will save us a lot of problems in this country and help to deal with many vices, insecurity, violence and the likes,’’ the speaker said.
Dogara commended the company for equipping farmers and providing them with the right seeds with which they could grow and feed the nation.
“The work you do is very fundamental in the success of the revolution that we seek in the agricultural sector.
“If there is anything we can do as a parliament to support your work, don’t hesitate to tell us and we believe that no one is an island.
“I am assured and I believe that you are producing quality seeds from this place, otherwise you wouldn’t attract those awards.
He also promised that the legislature would look on how government and farmers could collaborate to ensure that farmers in the country got quality seeds.
‘’As legislators, we represent the people and chances are that when we connect at this level, we will spread the word down the ladder, even to the peasant farmers.
‘’They need to get quality seeds as well, when they get quality seeds, they plant them and it increases their yield, not necessarily for commercial purposes.
“This means they will have food to feed on and still have some to dispose off, thereby increasing family savings and putting resources in their hands to pay school fees for their children.
“Even the private sector will have to collaborate with government and government will collaborate with the private sector to move agriculture forward.’’
Earlier, the Managing Director, Premier of the company, Prof. Abraham Ogungbile, said the company distributed fertiliser and seeds to about 2,000 farmers in 2017 in the country.
Ogunbgile further said farmers were the company’s out-growers, empowered to produce certified seeds but expressed worry that the company supplied seed since 2014 but had not been paid.
“Even as loans secured by the company to embark on the project are yet to be paid off,’’ Ogunbgile said.