AMIDST the glooming effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s food production, the National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, says it plans to ensure that farmers accessed about 81,000 metric tonnes of certified seeds available through its accredited seed companies, in preparation for the 2020 planting season.
The certified seeds available include 30,000mt of rice, 4000mt of maize hybrid, 3000mt of sorghum, 4000mt of soybean, 1500mt of cowpea, 550mt of millet, 6000mt of groundnut, 2,500mt of wheat, 40,000mt of sesame, and a host of others.
Philip Ojo, director-general, NASC, acknowledged during a virtual press conference, yesterday, that companies are having challenges accessing certified seeds to farmers due to inter-state restriction of movement due to COVID-19.
He, however, assured that the Council is working with various stakeholders to implement various coping actions that would help the sector to continue to function even in the midst of the crisis. He highlighted the actions to include; structuring seed trade and agro-inputs in designated markets and on specific days, while complying with social distancing direction of relevant government agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
Ojo explained that it would be done using a decentralised model for organising the markets that allow quality seed and agro-inputs to be transported close to farmers, and thus reduce the distance that farmers need to travel to access inputs. He said they also intend to create seed sector task forces at federal, state and local government levels to regularly review the interstate movement of essential agricultural goods and services and provide guidance on measures to be taken to responsible authorities.
“As the industry is preparing to push this quantity of certified seeds to the market, companies, like every farmer, are also preparing to go to their fields to plant so that we can have adequate quantities of seeds for the next cropping season,” he said.
– May 15, 2020 @ 12:58 GMT |