The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) has trained and commissioned 15 licenced seeds Inspectors for Cassava in Kogi State.
Speaking during the refresher training, supported by Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, in Lokoja, Kogi State, the director-general of NASC, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, said the inspectors were the captains of cassava seed quality assurances, while urging them to continue to discharge their responsibilities diligently.
Represented by the director, Seeds Certification and Quality Control, Dr. Ishiak Othman Khalid, Ojo assured that once the Council’s world class Grow-Out-Test site in the headquarters is completed, samples of cassava stems certified by LSIs will be subjected to control testing and results will be compared with LSIs field inspection reports to assess their field inspection activities.
He said the 3-day refresher training was a re-assurance of BASIC’s commitment to constant capacity building for LSIs and deep interest in the third party seed certification appraisal system to ensure the system is at par with international best practices.
Ojo, who acknowledged that the number of applications for Commercial Seed Entrepreneurs in Kogi State was on the rise, an indication of added responsibilities, urged to inspectors to be free in sharing their field experience and challenges to help in identifying possible ways to perfect the system.
“Let me also inform you that we have inaugurated additional LSIs in Abia and Oyo states to strengthen cassava seed quality assurances in these high cassava producing states and the NASC is poised to expand this scheme beyond cassava into other grain crops. This shows the high level of commitment of the government in development of the scheme,” he said.
He further informed the inspectors that the guideline for authorising private certification agents in Nigeria has been forwarded to other stakeholders within the seed industry and that once the document is finally ratified by the governing board of NASC, it will be made available to stakeholders and it will serve as your guide as it relates to third party seed system which also includes the private laboratories.
“After this refresher training, there are still a lot of to be learnt on cassava seed certification systems and I want to appeal to you all to continue to leverage on the knowledge of your mentor for knowledge update and more guidance.
“I want to once again appreciate the strong support from our collaborating partner, Catholic Relief Service, the IITA, most especially the quality assurance component team lead, Dr. Lava Kumar for his intellectual leadership skills to ensure that quality assurance is delivered at the utmost level under the project.
“Furthermore, I wish to reiterate the NASC resolve and commitment to strengthening private seed certification system in Nigeria,” he said.