The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar has announced that the Revised National Agricultural Seed Policy (RNASP) 2022 has enabled the availability of 89,512.10 metric tonnes of assorted improved seed varieties for planting by farmers in the 2023 cropping season.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Abubakar, said the new policy document is an investment geared toward building a better future for Nigeria’s agriculture sector, explaining that seeds are critical inputs in enhancing farmer’s productivity while also boosting the country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP).
Abubakar noted that the RNASP 2022 would help to ensure more access to improved quality seeds, boost food and nutrition security as well as encourage participation of women and youth in the seed value chain.
He noted that the enactment of the National Agricultural Seed Act, No 21 of 2019 and the Plant Variety Protection Act, No 5 of 2021 have empowered new responsibilities and widened the scope of operations of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).
The minister revealed that the present seed policy document represented the concerted efforts of NASC and other stakeholders who had made valuable inputs towards ensuring that farmers have unrestricted access to best genetics to enhance their productivity.
He noted that the council had also introduced additional innovations and technologies, which included Third Party Certification, Seed Tracker, NASC Seed Information Management Platform (NASIMP), NASC Electronic Survey Tool (NEST), e-Library, Molecular Diagnostics System to ease its functions of delivering quality seeds to the Nigeria’s farming populace.
Earlier in his remarks, Chief of Party and Managing Director, USAID Feed – the – Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, (NAIA), Mr. Olumide Ojo, who was represented by Ms. Yvonne Isikuemen, stated that the policy was significant to the seed industry as it underscores the need to strengthen efforts for quality seeds production, address issues of seed fraud and improve healthy seed supply for the benefit of agricultural productivity and food security in Nigeria.
He said that the review process went through initial data gathering and desk review by an international authority on seed policy, with several stakeholder reviews and validations which culminated in the final approval of the policy in March 2023.
He further revealed that the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity is a five-year USAID-funded programme, which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in Nigeria.