As part of efforts to deepen stakeholders knowledge on cassava seed system, the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) has conducted a refresher training course for Licensed Seed Inspectors (LSIs) on cassava varietal identification, cassava seed certification systems, new methods in seed certification, usage of cassava seed tracker, data collection and reporting etc.
Declaring the training open recently in Makurdi, Benue State, NASC director general, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, said the training was a re-assurance of BASIC’s II 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.
Commending the Inspectors for participating in the scheme even though the system was still in its early years and with teething challenges, he said their contribution since inception is noteworthy as it has added great value to the quality component of the BASICS II project.
He said the training funded by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation was part of efforts to develop a sustainable and commercial model for cassava seed systems in Nigeria which will enable our smallholder farmers have un-hindered access to high quality planting materials to enhance farm-level productivity.
Ojo who was represented by the director, Seeds Certification and Quality Control, Dr. Ishiak Khalid, said the Council has inaugurated additional LSIs in Abia, Kogi and Oyo states to strengthen cassava seed quality assurances in these high cassava producing states.
He also expressed NASC’s commitment to to expanding the scheme beyond cassava into other grain crops .
Also speaking, the head of Germplasm Head Unit, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Lava Kumar, commended the LSIs for their impact on the BASICS project and assured that the project is greatly committed to strengthening their capacity on cassava seed certification system.
Kumar, who is also the head of quality component, BASIC II Project, noted that third party seed certification is now gaining grounds in Africa as some African countries have signified interest in adopting the model and they will be looking up to Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania as exemplars.
He added that third party seed certification is a key component of the BASICS II project and that the success of the second phase of BASICS II depends greatly on the success of third party seed certification.
He therefore appealed to LSIs to double their commitment and deepen their knowledge on cassava seed tracker.