Wholesome Seed: Panacea for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Wholesome Seed: Panacea for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author by Dr. Kehinde Oyekale

Journal/Publisher: Nigerian Journal Of Seed Science

Volume/Edition: 2

Language: English

Pages: 109 - 118

Abstract

Good quality crop seed has been identified as one of the most important inputs for sustainable agricultural production and food security in most parts of the world. Seed quality is an important and basic attribute of a crop for increasing yield as well as raising the efficiency of other inputs like fertilizers, agro-chemicals and agro-machineries. Greater percentage of improvement in agricultural production has come from the use of good quality seed. No agricultural practice can improve crop production beyond the limit set by seed. Quality seeds of a crops variety must be made available to the farmers in adequate quantity and quality and at affordable prices. Seed production systems in the entire sub-Saharan Africa have however, not fully developed the capacity to perform this role very well. The development and performance of the seed sector is constrained by factors such as weak technical capacity, poor market mechanisms, inefficient enforcement of seed law, information asymmetry, insufficient capital investment and low utilization of innovations. This study thus reviewed and analyzed Quality Control(QC) mechanisms for seed production and seed systems development in selected Sub-Saharan  African countries; by identifying the weak links, areas of failure, the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the various bodies in the performance of their responsibilities, the effectiveness of prevailing regulatory mechanism as well as suggesting ways of improving the entire seed industry in order to guarantee food security in the entire African Continent. Information gathered from this review indicated certain gaps in seed quality assessment and control in some of the countries studied including Nigeria. This really portends great danger for sustainable agriculture in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. The agricultural seed sector in this region has evolved over the last couple of years in terms of seed science and commercial seed production capabilities. However, the sector is still under-performing in terms of meeting the agricultural seed needs of the region. This can better be handled by employing more proactive and all-inclusive approaches in the overall seed production and seed quality assurance programmes.


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