National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) have unveiled the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act 2021 in an event that was held in Lagos, with the theme “Unveiling the Plant Variety Protection Act 2021 and Plans for Implementation.”
The CEO of the NESG, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola commended the federal government and the National Assembly for signing the Act into law following deliberations, advocacy visits, closed-door meetings, expert reviews, and traditional and digital campaigns.
“According to the Pan African Farmer Organisation (PAFO), the agriculture sector in Nigeria needs six times more seeds than it currently utilises in order to fulfill its yield and production potential.
“As we foster productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector through the protection of the intellectual property rights of Nigerian plant breeders, it is our hope that there will be increase in seed production and better access to improved seed varieties by end-users,” Mr Jaiyeola stated.
He reiterated that the implementation of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act 2021 will assist to better position Nigeria to feed her growing population, attract foreign investments into the seed sub-sector as well as enjoy the gains of intra- and inter-border trade opportunities in seed trade and exports which will be crucial for creating opportunities for rural youths to live and thrive in their various communities; and that the NESG remains committed to further collaboration with seed sector players in the implementation of the NASC Act, 2019 and the PVP Act, 2021.
While delivering goodwill messages, Professor Lateef Sanni, country coordinator of Building a sustainable Cassava System in Nigeria stated that early generation seeds company are being stimulated for commercial seeds production in communities in Benue, Kogi, Oyo and Delta states and that the PVP Act 2021 will not only protect breeders but also help sustain the agricultural system.
The director-general of NASC, Dr Philip Olusegun Ojo said that the unveiling is an important milestone and that before now, Nigeria was one of the few countries in Africa without a Plant Variety Protection system. He expressed appreciation to the president, the National assembly, minister of agriculture, development partners, media organisations and everyone involved in the successful development of the PVP.
“Nigeria’s agricultural sector transformation is a significant reason why the country should pay attention to plant variety protection (PVP). This would incentivise national and multinational agribusiness investments in the country. We will begin to see in our farmer’s field superior yielding, stress tolerant, disease resistant, climate smart and input efficient varieties which will be introduced by innovative breeders both from the public and the private sector in a few years to come. In addition to the above, we will begin to witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result of the increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country,” Ojo stated.
President of the Nigerian Association of Plant Breeders, Professor Chiedozie Egesi who was represented by Dr Dorcas Abidoye said the association has been working together with the NASC from the inception, adding that it was a great honour that the bill had finally become an Act. She stated that the implementation of the PVP Act 2021 was particularly important for smallholder farmers, plant breeders and scientists.
Representative of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), Mr Ben Rivoire said that being a member of the organisation and implementing the PVP system is key to having an effective system that encourages development of new varieties and high-quality seeds that will strengthen the agricultural sector in Nigeria.