The President of the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), Yusuf Ado-Kibiya, has stated that inconsistent government policies and a lack of access to credit facilities are stifling the over 420 seed companies in the country.
He also accused government agencies of awarding seed procurement contracts to contractors who go to local markets to purchase grains instead of seeds, thereby depriving seed companies of patronage.
In his maiden press conference after his election as the President of SEEDAN, Ado-Kibiya said agriculture remains the backbone of every economy, with seeds forming the foundation of crop farming.
While calling on the government to pay attention to seed production, the SEEDAN President emphasized that the average Nigerian seed yields about 10 tonnes per hectare, whereas worldwide, farmers achieve between 20 and 30 tonnes per hectare.
“Agriculture has been the backbone of every economy worldwide, and seeds are the most critical factor in agricultural development.
When you talk about development or economic growth worldwide, agriculture has been the foundation.
Regrettably, in Nigeria, we have been facing problems due to inconsistencies in government policies over the years.
“Seeds have not been given the attention they deserve. Without good seeds, you cannot succeed; all other inputs are partners in the process of developing the plant.
The factor that will help the farmers make money and help the country develop is when they have enough production.
The highest yield you can get on average for Nigerian farmers is 10 tonnes per hectare, but worldwide we are talking about between 20 and 30 tonnes per hectare.
“If you look at the economy of growth, Nigerian farmers are at a loss, which is why investment in agriculture has not been forthcoming,” he said.
While acknowledging seed production as a significant business, Ado-Kibiya urged the government to support research institutes, as they form the basis for producing quality seeds for agriculture.
“Seed production is not a small business; it involves a lot of work along the chain of production, and there are numerous activities, commitments, and job opportunities.
“The research institutes in Nigeria are not adequately supported. The government should intervene because research is the fundamental base for producing success, especially in agriculture. Therefore, the government should support research and seed companies.
“We have over 420 seed companies in Nigeria, and we are on our own. There were policies that really helped in the past, but these policies are no longer feasible because they were not sustained by successive governments.
“We receive numerous complaints from the public about poor seeds due to the lack of support for the seed production chain.
Government agencies often award contracts to contractors who go to local markets to buy grains, thinking that this is a positive development.
Our association will strongly address this practice of the government awarding seed procurement contracts.”
He called for policy frameworks to support seed companies, especially in terms of funding and patronage from government agencies.
“Seed companies are not adequately supported in terms of policies to facilitate access to funding. Funding is critical, but financial institutions often do not understand what agriculture entails.
Therefore, the government should introduce policies to facilitate access to funds for seed companies.
“Extension services have collapsed, and farmers are left on their own without proper knowledge. Farmers are not educated about buying seeds from reputable companies.
Companies produce seeds, but there is no market to sell them, so they end up selling the seeds as grains because government agencies do not patronize seed companies,” the SEEDAN President added.