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July 25, 2024

Food Security: Deputy Speaker Advocates Increased Investment in Seed Industry

The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu has called for increased investment in the seed industry for enhanced food security in Nigeria. 

Speaking at the 6th Seed Connect Africa Conference in Abuja, he emphasized the importance of research and innovation to empower farmers and contribute to a more food-secure and prosperous nation.

Kalu highlighted the seed industry’s crucial role in providing sustainable solutions for ensuring food security.

He acknowledged the House of Representatives’ significant contribution in facilitating the passage of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act, showcasing the parliament’s commitment to supporting policies driving agricultural growth and improving food security.

While commending the National Agricultural Seed Council for its unwavering dedication to the growth and development of Nigeria’s seed industry, Kalu urged the participants to explore innovative solutions to address the challenges and opportunities in the seed industry.

He said: “I am honoured to be here today to address this esteemed gathering of experts, innovators, and stakeholders in the crucial field of seed production and agriculture.

“As we gather under the compelling theme of “Global Declaration of Food Emergency – The Role of Seed Industry in Africa,” I am filled with a sense of urgency and determination to amplify the significance of this event and the critical role of the seed industry in addressing the pressing issue of food security in our continent.

“Nigeria, a nation blessed with abundant agricultural potential, has made significant strides in developing its seed industry. Our country boasts four distinct seed systems: farmer-saved, public-private, public-led, and community-based.

“Each system plays a unique and complementary role in ensuring the availability of high-quality seeds to our farmers. The public sector, as the primary driver of variety development, accounts for a remarkable 87% of variety releases in the seed market.

“This commitment to research and innovation has laid the foundation for a robust seed sector in Nigeria. Simultaneously, the private sector’s growing presence, accounting for 13% of variety releases, has infused market dynamism and competitiveness into the seed industry.

“With over 157 registered seed companies, Nigeria has emerged as a regional leader in seed production and export. In 2019 alone, the country accounted for a staggering 60% of the total seeds marketed in West Africa. This impressive export volume highlights Nigeria’s capacity to contribute to regional food security efforts.

“The recent enactment of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) ACT 2021 stands as a landmark achievement in strengthening Nigeria’s seed industry. This groundbreaking legislation provides legal protection for plant breeders, fostering innovation and investment in seed development.

“The PVP Act is poised to revolutionize the seed sector, leading to increased productivity, improved seed quality, and enhanced access for farmers.

“As we confront the global food emergency, the seed industry holds the key to unlocking sustainable solutions and ensuring food security for all. By investing in research, innovation, and capacity building, we can empower our farmers to produce more, sustainably, and contribute to a more food-secure and prosperous Nigeria.”

In his goodwill message, the chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Bello Kaoje commended the organisers for their dedication, saying that it will strengthen the spirit of collective partnership towards achieving food security.

He added that parliamentarians will continue to work in the best interest of the citizenry.

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