The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to train thousands of community-based seed entrepreneurs as part of an effort to improve seed production and marketing in four northeastern states. signed the MoU). Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Yobe.
The USAID-funded project includes training and supporting 2,250 seed producers in four intervention states to become Community-Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSEs) and developing 150 Community-Based Seed Enterprises by these CBSEs. This includes promoting the formation of cooperatives.
At a signing ceremony at NASC headquarters in Abuja, Executive Director Dr Olusegun Philip Ojo said the council has a responsibility to ensure that farmers have access to high-quality seeds.
“And most of the innovations and technologies that have been introduced to the seed industry have been done in collaboration with organizations like yours. We have positioned the Council as a center of excellence for the West African seed industry and we look forward to expanding our collaborators and partners in the future.
“For reference, Nigeria produces over 50% of West Africa’s quality seeds, making it a sort of powerhouse when it comes to seed production. We have an inquiry.
“IITA has been a good partner, especially because we have been able to partner with them on some projects such as the Seed Codex. And community seed projects are very important to us. Because we can’t meet all seed needs, we need to ensure that farmers at the downstream and regional level have access to the best genetics, and that’s what this program is working on, especially in the north. Yes, seeds are a game-changer in agriculture and I wish this project could be replicated across the country to make seeds available to grassroots farmers,” he said.
IITA President Prakash Kant Silwal also informed 1,937 community-based seed producers about improved seed production and marketing techniques in Adamawa and Borno States from 2020 to 2022 through its Northeast Regional Office. said to have trained
He said the organization also monitored CBSP’s seed fields, provided necessary support and guidance, and tested samples of seeds produced at Gombe’s seed laboratory.
“We participated in the annual Agricultural Materials Fair organized by this initiative to raise the necessary awareness among smallholder farmers about the need to plant certified seeds instead of grains.
“All of the above have significantly increased the use of certified seeds by smallholder farmers in intervention communities, increasing yields and incomes.
“Expansion of interventions in seed system development: Recently, our donors (USAID) have expanded the scope of their activities to expand seed system development in existing states (Borno and Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe states). This included helping 2,250 seed producers to become Community-Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSEs) in four intervention states and cultivating 150 Community-Based Seeds from these CBSEs. This includes promoting the formation of business cooperatives.
“To achieve this, this work still requires the continued support of the NASC, as contained in the MOU we sign today.
“Activity and NASC officials are currently organizing training for 2,250 selected CBSPs on improving seed production and marketing skills across the four intervention states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe. We are happy to announce that this is already happening because we have a lot of work to do,” he explains.