Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has reiterated the Federal Government’s support to the Nigeria’s seed sector to boost food production.
Ogbeh gave the assurance at the second edition of the 2019 SeedConnect, organised by the National Agricultural Seed Council in Abuja on Tuesday.
The two-day conference and exhibition with the theme: “Enhancing the Potential of the Nigeria Seed Industry”, is aimed at building a stronger seed sector in Nigeria and Africa.
According to Ogbeh, the market for seed is huge hence the need for actors to be assisted by all stakeholders to also boost job creation.
He said: “The market for seed is huge and can be met. Since you know how to do it, we have every reason to support you to do it.
“Once we shift to new leadership in the ministry, in our handover notes, we will let them know they must give serious attention to the seed sector.
“Many farmers have no access to good seeds because there are fake seeds being sold to them, well packaged with fake brands’ names out there.
“When they lose money, they suffer. These are one-hectare farmers who can’t afford to take loans from banks.”
The minister said the Bank of Agriculture had just been privatised, adding that this would allow farmers become major shareholders in the programme.
He said: “Seed companies should be very strategic partners in this programme. Get in there so that you can get good credit in future to do your business.
“Do your business then pay back your loan, take more loans and do better.”
The Governor of Kebbi, Abubakar Bagudu, said that Nigerian seed companies must be given the enabling environment to operate and compete favorably in the international market.
Bagudu said: “We can remain in ownership in our seed business. Those who invest in seedlings should be able to get reward for it.”
The governor warned that the country must not only encourage foreigners to participate in its market but get the value of achieving global competitiveness.