The National Agricultural Seed Council has held a sensitisation workshop for over 70 farmers drawn from Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states on community based seed production.

The Director-General of the council, Dr. Philip Ojo said the workshop was to address the challenges farmers faced in accessing quality seeds.

According to Ojo, quality seeds will positively impact output of crop production in the country.
He explained that the council was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating and regulating seed production to ensure that farmers access improved seeds.

Ojo, who was represented by the Director of Seed Industry development and Technical support at the council, Dr Sunday Abimiku noted that there was inadequate quality seeds produced for farmers in the country.

According to him, the number of registered seed companies in the country is grossly inadequate to produce enough to meet the demands of farmers.

He said that most of the seed companies were domiciled in urban centres, far away from the rural areas where the farmers need them.

“This sensitisation workshop is aimed at developing community based seed producers to produce quality seeds in the local communities, thereby addressing seed shortage in the country.

“The Community Based Seed Production (CBSP) Programme is an approach of producing and distributing high quality seeds with the involvement of farmers’ groups in a community.

“It is a market-Oriented approach with emphasis on developing skills in seed production and marketing,’’ Ojo said.

He added that the sensitisation was to encourage growth and development of community seed producers to ensure diffusion and use of high quality improved seeds in the rural farming communities.

Ojo said that it would also minimise the use of “farmers saved seeds’’ by rural farmers.

Ojo explained that the CBSP would cover conventional crops in the formal seed system controlled by registered seed companies in areas where accessibility was a challenge.

He said CBSP would also take care of other seed sectors not handled by the formal system such as vegetative propagated crops like yam and potato among others.

Alhaji Yusuf Umaru-Mohammed, Nasarawa Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development commended the council for the initiative.

Umaru-Mohammed, represented by Mr Moses Atsevgo, an official of the ministry, said the sensitisation would avail the participants, who were out growers to become seed producers for small holder farmers in their communities.

Mr Joshua Jonathan, one of the participants said it was the first time that farmers from the region were being exposed to the rudiments of producing quality seeds in their communities.

“For instance, there is no seed industry for farmers in Nasarawa state, therefore this initiative is an opportunity for farmers in the state to become seed producer and even make a fortune from it,” Jonathan added.