FOOD sufficiency and security will continue to be a mirage in Nigeria, if the federal, state, local government, research institutions, academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders fail to pay strong attention to seed development, availability and affordability.
President, Association of Seed Scientists of Nigeria, Professor Moruf Ayodele, stated this during the 6th annual conference of the association with the theme: “Seed: A Strategic Input In Achieving Food Security In A Changing Agricultural Environment” which held recently at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan.
Ayodele noted that less than 20 per cent of farmers in Nigeria and some African countries have access to good quality seeds, consequently they use low quality seeds, their own saved seeds and purchase grains as seed.
He further stated that seed serves as planting materials for crop regeneration and improves agricultural production and productivity. Ayodele posited that any agricultural development without improved and high quality seeds is bound to be ineffective, inefficient and therefore a wasteful effort.
“I want to call on government and other relevant organisations to encourage farmers to imbibe the use of high and good quality seed in their farms. There is the need for them to strengthen their agricultural extension sections in order to sesnsitise the farmers on the need for them to use high quality seeds in their farms.” Ayodele concluded.
While addressing participants and guests, Executive Director, IAR&T, Professor Veronica Obatolu, who was represented by the Deputy Director of the institute, Dr Jelili Saka, stated that the paradigm shift in the Nigerian economy to agriculture-based economy is hanging on pedestal supported by quality seeds.
“It is therefore worth mentioning that this association and her members are relied upon if this thought will come into reality.
“In a proactive manner aimed at addressing part of the problems, the clarion call for all of you here as association members is to come up with ideas and strategies that will encourage adoption and uptake of quality seeds by farmers as against the use of grains for planting that is presently experienced.” Obatolu noted.