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NASC, IITA signs MOU on Community based Seed entrepreneurship



National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to train thousands of community based Seed entrepreneurs as part of efforts to improve seed production and marketing in four north east States of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe.

The project, funded by USAID, will involve training and supporting 2250 seed producers to become Community Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSE) in the four intervention states and facilitating the formation of these CBSE into 150 community based Seed enterprises cooperatives.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at the NASC headquarters in Abuja which happened to be his last official duty before exiting the Council as the Director General, Dr. Olusegun Philip Ojo, said the Council is responsible for ensuring that farmers have good quality seeds and that the Council works with several partners.

“And most of the innovations and technology introduced in the seed industry were done in collaboration with organisations like yours. So when the idea of partnering with IITA came, we were happy to embrace it. We want to continue to expand our collaborators and partners because we are positioning the Council as centre of excellence for seed industry in West Africa.

“For your information, Nigeria produces over 50% of good quality seeds in West Africa and we have become force of a sort when it comes to seed production. So now we get several references from organisations to come to us for the seed they need.

“IITA has been a good partner as we have been able to partner on several projects such as seed codex, among other. The community seed project is very dear to our hearts because, the seed companies alone cannot take care of all the seed needs of farmers and the need to ensure that farmers at the downstream and local level have access to the best of genetics, that is what the programme is addressing, especially in the north,and seed is a game changer in agriculture, it would be good if the project can be replicated across the country to make seed available for the farmers at the grassroots,” he said.

Also speaking, before signing the MoU, IITA Chief of Party, Prakash Kant Silwal, said through its Northeast Regional Office, it has collaborated with the activity in training 1,937 Community Based Seed Producers on improved seed production and marketing techniques in Adamawa and Borno States between 2020 and 2022.

He said the organisation has also monitored the seed fields of these CBSPs and provided the needed support and guidance, tested the samples of the seeds produced by the CBSPs at its Seed laboratory in Gombe.

“Attended the annual Agricultural inputs Fair organized by the Activity to create necessary awareness for the smallholder farmers on the need to plant certified seeds instead of grains.

“All the above have significantly increased the use of certified seeds by smallholder farmers in intervention communities and resulted in an increase in yield and income.

“Scaling up of interventions in seed system development: Recently, our donor (USAID) expanded the scope of the Activity to scale-up interventions in seed system development in the existing states (Borno and Adamawa and expand into Gombe and Yobe states). This will involve supporting 2,250 seed producers to become Community Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSE) in the four intervention states and facilitating the formation of these CBSEs into 150 community-based seed enterprises cooperatives.

“In achieving this, the Activity still needs the continuous support of NASC as contained in the MOU that we are signing today.

“I am happy to announce that this is already happening as the activity and NASC Officials are currently organizing training for the selected 2,250 CBSP in improved seed production and marketing techniques across the four intervention states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe. Other activities will follow suit,” he explains.

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NASC trains officers on digital seed certification, onboard pilot license seed inspectors



The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC)has improved the capacity of 25 newly engaged officers on digital seed certification using the National Seed tracker platform.
This is even as the Council has onboarded the licensed Seed Inspectors in some selected pilot states.

Giving his opening remarks at the two-day training workshop on digital seed certification, the Acting Director General, Dr. Ishiak Othman Khalid, said the council is committed to building the capacity of newly recruited certification and scientific office with deep interest in the digital seed certification appraisal system to ensure the system is at par with international best practices.

He said the Council is committed to ensuring that seed companies have the best-improved productivity, increased competitiveness for their seeds in the global seed space, and increased crop yield to compete in the international space.

“Our fundamental focus as a Council is on progressive strengthening and transforming of the practices of stakeholders in the seed value chain, such that the value creation at each level of the chain creates enough vested interest for all players to keep the system going.

“As part of our commitment to ensure national food security through agricultural sustainability and development of the seed industry in Nigeria, the Council has a world-class molecular diagnostic facility which can detect pathogens, variety identification using SSR markers, train purity testing, zygosity test, transgenic detection in GMOs among other tests using diagnostics tools.

The national Seeds tracker is an ICT solution to integrate supply chain functions and life seed systems to the Next Generation. Its vision is to organize seed production information, enable seed quality monitoring and certification, and empower every seed value chain actor to foster sustainable seed production for high productivity and profit.

Also, the Director, of Seed Certification and Quality Control, Ubandoma Mohammed, said the training aimed to enhance the capacity of the newly employed staff, so they would be able to fit effectively into the workings of the Council.

“WE are moving with time due to the technology of the time, we are training on digital seed certification using the national seed tracker. We have gone ICT and our report is partly being covered by our staff on the field using ICT. This training is not only for our staff, we are scaling it down to other stakeholders and the seed companies too.

“The training is very important because the President has declared a state of emergency on the food sector, therefore tasking the Ministry to ensure food availability. As we are speaking now the ministry has commenced distribution of inputs to farmers.

These inspectors are those that would go to the field to ensure that what is been planted are good and that they are seeds the farmers can use to get a good harvest.,” he said.

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