BRIDGING THE SEED MANAGEMENT GAPS IN THE NIGERIAN SEED INDUSTRY

BRIDGING THE SEED MANAGEMENT GAPS IN THE NIGERIAN SEED INDUSTRY

Author by Dr. Kehinde Oyekale

Language: English

Abstract

The use of improved quality crop seed cultivars by farmers has been recognized as the most important effort in boosting agricultural production and ensuring food security. Improved quality seed is not only the cheapest and basic potential of increasing yield but also fundamental in raising the efficiency of other inputs like fertilizers, agro-chemicals and agro-machinery. Greater percentage of improvement in agricultural production has come from the use of improved seed. In essence, no agricultural practices, i.e. fertilization, irrigation etc can improve crop production beyond the limit set by seed. We now have crop varieties that are higher yielding, early maturing, more resistant to diseases and pests, and better adapted to different ecologies. The means of transferring these benefits to farmers is the seed. Seeds are therefore a means of technology transfer to farmers, who have certain expectations from new crop varieties as promised by the breeders. To realize these expectations, seeds of new varieties must be made available to the farmers in adequate quantity and quality and at affordable prices. Unfortunately, the Nigerian seed industry has not fully developed the capacity to perform this role very well. For example, the current national seed uptake is less than 10%, while the regulatory and enforcement capacity in the industry has been weak. The Nigerian agricultural seed sector has evolved over the last 30 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 country. Consequently, the government of Nigeria imported rice seeds in 2012, while vegetable seeds are still mostly imported through informal channels. The development and performance of the seed sector is constrained by many factors which include weak technical capacity, poor market mechanisms, in-efficient enforcement of seed law, information asymmetry, insufficient capital investment and low utilization of innovations. This study thus reviewed and analysed Nigeria's seed production development and management initiatives by identifying the weak links, areas of failure, the effectiveness or otherwise 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 of the country.


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