The National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, weekend, trained over 60 seed producers and stakeholders on high technical skills to produce quality seeds.
The Director General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, explained while speaking on the essence of the training, which forms part of the Council’s mandate to ensure training of seed producers and stakeholders across the country in order to have human capacity with the requisite knowledge and skills for quality seed production.
The participants had their training on new multiplication technology including the rudiments of quality seed production, processing, storage and handling; and enlightenment on the existing seed rules and regulations as enshrined in the new National Agricultural Seeds Council Act No 21 of 2019 to enable them operate within the confines of the law while producing and marketing seeds.
Basically, the training was focused on building and sustaining a market oriented private sector driven seed industry for the production and distribution of high-quality seeds.
Ojo said: “This also extends to the agro-dealers who are the middlemen for marketing and distribution of seeds produced to the end users to ensure proper handling of the seeds in their various stores to minimize damages on traded seed and maintain viability.
“Seed production is a specialized activity that requires high technical skills, and this cannot be acquired without training to impart the requisite knowledge and techniques in seed production which of course include all the production activities that take place on the field, as well as handling the seed during harvesting, processing, storage and distribution.
“It is for this course that we have gathered you here to be trained on the rudiments of quality seed production, processing, storage and handling; and enlighten you on the existing seed rules and regulations as enshrined in the new National Agricultural Seeds Council Act No 21 of 2019 to enable you operate within the confines of the law while producing and marketing seeds for your respective seed companies.”
Earlier, the Director, Seed Coordination and Management, Zidafamor Jimmy, expressed optimism that with the training, participants’ knowledge and skills will be enhanced on production of quality seeds using new technology.
Jimmy also maintained that the council had not left anyone in the sector across the value chains as production of quality seed is not the responsibility of scientists alone but all stakeholders in the subsector.
“One of the challenges we have with seed production in Nigeria is not only in the production but in handling too, remembers that seed is a living entity, hence the storage is very importance as some farmers store their seeds with chemicals, kerosene, cements in their stores or in their boot of their cars packed in the sun and in the process kill the seeds.
“Sometimes, seed not germinating may not be the fault of the producers, but from the farmers’ handling of the seed before planting. That is while the training is for all stakeholders, so they can understand how to handle seeds as a living entity”, he said.
Also, a facilitator who was former Director, Seeds Inspectorate at the Council, Bayo Agboola, emphasized that participants should ensure certified seeds are sold to farmers, as the subsector had recorded activities ranging from infringements, offences and penalties, therefore, called for whistleblowers to expose any shady deals to protect unsuspecting farmers.