Following Nigeria’s recognition as the 62nd member country of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which now afford Nigeria to sell its seed internationally, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has commissioned the $100,000 Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) funded National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) upgrade Central Seed Testing Laboratory (CSTL).
This would create an environment for international seed companies to produce in Nigeria and export to target countries.
Speaking during the Commissioning and unveiling of lab equipment donated to NASC by AGRA, at the Council headquarters at Sheda, Abuja on Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, said the Ministry under his watch is strategically driving the train to ensure that Mr. Presidents vision on food security is achieved.
In his words: “To achieve this laudable objective doing this we are repositioning our strengths and opportunities with collaborating partners as the job for food sufficiency involves the participation of partners along the various value chains from crop to animal health and husbandry, fisheries, agribusiness, processing, storage and inputs.”
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the director, Strategic Grains Reserve, Dr Haruna Sule, said with the accession of Nigeria as the 62nd country in the OECD seed schemes, it is essential the country starts from top notch seed production systems and quality assurance that is why the commissioning of this upgraded lab is so important to the process as Nigeria need to up its game in seed production and ensure we carve a niche for Nigeria in international seed market.
AGRA country Manager, Dr. Kehinde Makinde, said his organisation is spending so much on the agricultural sector because of the Nigeria smallholder farmers who have been the essence of its partners with Nigeria.
While welcoming the participants, NASC Acting Director General, Dr. Ishiaku Khalid, said AGRA has contributed significantly to the development of the seed sector in Nigeria.