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The Association of Seed Scientists of Nigeria (ASSN), has urged government and relevant organisations to encourage farmers to imbibe the use of high quality seeds in farming.
The ASSN President, Prof. Moruf Adebisi made the call on Tuesday during the association’s 6th annual conference held at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan.
Adebisi said less than 20 per cent of farmers in Nigeria and Africa had access to good quality seeds.
According to him, this has made the quality of their yields to decline significantly.
Adebisi stressed the need for the government to strengthen agricultural extensions to sensitise farmers on the importance of using quality seeds in their farms.
According to him, any agricultural development without improved and high quality seed is bound to be ineffective, inefficient and therefore, a wasteful effort.
“Food Security and sufficiency will continue to be a mirage if government at all levels and other relevant stakeholders fail to pay strong attentions to seed development, availability and affordability,’’ he said.
He remarked that the conference was loaded with research paper presentations bothering on strategic input in achieving food security in a changing agricultural environment.
Adebisi said it also bothered on issues on developing institutional framework for regulating animal seeds, bio-safety of genetically modified seeds utilisation in developing countries and its implications on food security.
In his keynote address, Prof. Morakeyo Fakorede of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, described seed as a strategic input in achieving food security in a changing agricultural environment.
Fakorede urged the Federal Government to implement predictable, reliable, user-friendly and affordable regulatory environment for flourishing and rewarding seed industry.
He called on government at all levels to ensure that farmers had access to high quality seeds at the right time, place and at affordable price.
Fakorede, a Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics, urged seed scientists to ensure they played their role in the development of quality seeds and ensure the seeds were delivered to farmers accordingly.
Earlier, the IAR&T Executive Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu said the institute developed new adapted varieties of crops and disseminated early generation seeds to farmers.
Obatolu, represented by the IAR&T Deputy Director, Dr Jelili Saka, said IAR&T ensured that its seed production activities were done under strict compliance with the guided certification regulations of National Agricultural Seed Council.
Obatolu called on the scientists to come up with ideas, strategies that would encourage adoption of quality seeds by farmers as against the use of grains for planting which is presently experienced.
“The scientists should expand their discussions to include the major players of seed companies, dealers and breeders.
“If we must get to the destination we desire, we must all work together as a team and this association has a great role to play as the think-tank of the industry,’’ she said.