The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Sonny Echono, on Tuesday urged stakeholders in the seed sub-sector to address the problem of inadequate improved seeds facing farmers.
Echono made this call at the stakeholders’ workshop on community seed production, organised by the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by a Director in the ministry, Mr Damilola Eniayeju, said that one of the most critical problems facing farmers in the rural communities was lack of access to quality seeds.
He said that farmers had no option rather than to obtain seeds from previous season harvest or purchase grains from the market to be used as seed.
According to him, the situation most often is brought about by lack of awareness of availability of improved seed varieties that are high yielding, disease and drought tolerant.
He added that it could be as a result of poor distribution network by seed companies and Agro dealers in rural communities that denied farmers access to quality seeds.
Echono appreciated NASC for bringing stakeholders together in finding a way of addressing the challenges of seeds affecting the sub-sector in order to boost agricultural productivity.
He hoped that the workshop would achieve its objectives of complementing community based seed production programme, knowing the important of seed in achieving food security in the country.
In his address, Dr Olusegun Ojo, the Director General, NASC, said that the whole idea of the workshop was to bring all stakeholders in the Community Seed Programme together in order to streamline their activities.
He added that a lot of development partners are out there to ensure adequate support for community projects.
Ojo, however, called on all stakeholders to key in to this project, brainstorm and share experiences for further improvements.
He expressed optimism that the modalities and guidelines for the operation of the Community Based Seed Production Programme (CBSP) would have been fashioned out at the end of the workshop.