The director general National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) Dr Phillips Olusegun Ojo has disclosed that Nigeria is the highest producer of quality seeds required in the entire West Africa, adding that “Nigeria produce 50-60 percent seeds in West Africa”.
This is just as he also said food security cannot be a achieved without a secured seeds.
Dr. Ojo stated this in Kaduna at the opening of the training of trainers workshop on ICT tagged; “NASC capacity development on Agricultural Seeds data management and visualization platform” in collaboration with the ILLAJ and company international limited.
The director general also said, training the trainer workshop is basically for the ICT and frontline seed certification staff on the usage of NASC digital platforms, a new frontier put in place as part of the key intervention under the 2021 national budget.
He stressed that capacity building of the seed industry is one of the major mandates of NASC and expressed the desire of the council to keep training and retraining the staff to meet up with modern technological skills appropriate for the day to day operations of the council. “Therefore this training is a realization of a long term development plan of the NASC management in a bid to achieve our mandate” he stressed.
“Nigeria is gearing towards increased food self-sufficiency as every country needs to be able to feed its people and as professionals, we understand there cannot be food security without seed security. This great task cannot be achieved without proper planning.
“However, the major constraints to this is dearth of proper and adequate data which span every sector of the economy and there is a realization that the use of ICT is a very good way to address the lingering issues of poor data sourcing, storage and retrieval, hence NASC is poised to explore this means. This therefore emphasizes the place of effective seed certification using modern tools.
“Seed certification is very crucial to ensuring that quality assurance is maintained. The council is very particular about both the field standards and the laboratory standards and we are not resting on our oars till we ensure our dear farmers get value for their money by ensuring that high quality, disease free and biosecure seeds are available to the smallest farmer no matter the location in Nigeria.
“Apart from making your schedule easier the electronic certification process will provide a reliable system with enhanced traceability and transparency. So far, many technological innovations to make your work easier. One of them is the SeedTracker put in place for seed inspection, company registration; and also, the SeedCodex for electronic authentication and currently the standard NASC portal which is evolving”.
He further said, as part of the new paradigm, NASC has created a full-fledged ICT unit under his office, and the ICT unit is saddled with the responsibility of handling the back end of all ICT infrastructure and platforms of the council which will further entrench domestication of ideals and reduce the over dependency on third party ICT vendors. All this is gravitating the new NASC in line with international best practices.
“You may wish to know that some of the IT innovations that NASC piloted is being used today by other sister African Countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana”.
Earlier, the director cooporate services of ILLAJ and company international limited, Abubakar Yakubu Kurfi in his remraks said, the importance of data management cannot be over emphasised, adding that quality seeds is necessary for pumper harvest.
“ILLAJ is collaborating with national agricultural seed council to contribute her quota to whatever it takes to ensure quality seeds” he said.