Nigerian Government launches revised National Agricultural Seed Policy

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, yesterday launched the Revised National Agricultural Seed Policy to boost farmers’ unrestricted access to best genetics to enhance their productivity.

The minister pointed out that the revised framework has expunged the ambiguous areas in the erstwhile 2015 national seed policy, strengthened the identified weaknesses and introduced innovations that optimised the regulatory, promotional and protection roles of the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) in ensuring that farmers have access to improved quality seeds.

Speaking at the ceremony which was attended by stakeholders and development partners including the

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), among others, the minister noted that seed remained a critical input in enhancing farmer’s productivity and boosting the country’s GDP through agriculture.

He commended the immense contributions of stakeholders at both the public and private sectors in enriching the contents of the new policy document.

Abubakar, further explained that following the critical review of the 2015 National Seed Policy, the progressive and positive changes in the operations of the seed industry had necessitated the review exercise, especially after the enactment of the National Agricultural Seed Act, No. 21 of 2019 and the Plant Variety Protection Act, No. 5 of 2021 that confined new responsibilities and widened the scope of operations of NASC.

He said Nigeria is currently confronted with a number of challenges ranging from economic uncertainty, policies inconsistency, rising oil prices, population explosion, insecurity and of recent, the armed conflicts in many countries of the world.

He said, “All these factors are already having its effect on the agricultural system and food security of the nation. To this end, the present administration has identified the agricultural sector as the most viable sector for the proposed diversification plan of the economy.

“Many reforms and policies have been put in place in the sector to facilitate its development as well as attract the necessary investment to the sector.”

In his remarks however, the Director General, NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, said the revised policy would invigorate the national seed system, trigger growth and development to consolidate on the gains and reforms made in the industry in recent times.

He said the seed sub-sector of Nigeria’s agricultural economy had undergone different stages of development since the country’s independence in 1960.

He pointed out that despite the attainment of such critical institutional structure for agricultural development, the seed landscape has evolved over the years.

Ojo, expressed optimism that the new regulation would further enhance government efforts at ensuring that the country was not only food secured, but a net exporter of agricultural produce among the committee of nations.

He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the minister in particular, for their doggedness in ensuring that the policy got all the necessary approvals.

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