In a bid to stop the sale of fake seeds, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) has confiscated fake seeds being sold in markets in Minna, Niger state.
A team of the Seed Council led by the Director of Seed Inspectorate, Agbola Adebayo said that majority of the seeds being sold to farmers in some markets across Minna were substandard.
The team visited Garatu market in Bosso local government area of the state, where they confiscated 138 kilograms of maize seeds.
Speaking with newsmen after the exercise, Adebayo explained that their surveillance team had gone ahead of them to identify the markets where substandard seeds were being sold.
“What we notice is that the seed that is being displayed to be sold here are substandard and that is why we confiscated them. They did not meet the quality specification as enshirned with the law. They did not meet any of our standards”, he said.
According to him, farmers who bought these seeds suffered a lot of loss and become poorer than they were before planting the seeds.
“The impact of farmers using substandard seed is enormous. You reduce them to being poor farmers for life because the yield they will get cannot justify the investment they put in. Oftentimes, they cannot take care of the cost of production talkless of getting interest which would improve the standard of their living.
“The effect is enormous on an individual and the country. Low yield affects the GDP and food security. Because the seed are substandard, the farmers will not get the stimulated yield and it means we are calling for famine”, he maintained.
The Director said that the National Agricultural Seed Council of Nigeria has the mandate to regulate the seed industry in Nigeria adding that they were in the state to observe seed activities, visit seed markets and evaluate the level of compliance by the players in these seed markets, retail outlets and shops.
“The exercise is to come and enforce the seed standard to ensure that people comply with the rules and regulations, the dos and donts of the seed business,” he remarked
He explained that for a seed to meet the standards, it has to be packed, tagged and processed according to specifications and undergo tagging by the Seed Council.
“Our job is that when the seed has been tagged, we want to see the quality of the seed and the type of tags if it complies with specifications and if it does not, the inspector has to get the seeds out of the market so that it will not be sold to the farmers”, he concluded.