Business

Insecurity: Farmers worry over poor quality seeds in circulation

Taiwo Hassan

 

Another round of food crisis is looming in the country amid the worsening security challenges as Nigerian farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) have raised the alarm over shortage of quality seeds in circulation.

 

Consquently, the farmers’ association rued that the inability to access quality seeds was already hampering productivity with poor outcome from crop planting.

 

Indeed, AFAN explained that lack of quality seeds nationwide being faced by local farmers was causing 90 to 95 per cent gap between demand and supply of improved varieties of all crops, except for openpollinated maize varieties, for which the market is saturated.

 

National President, AFAM, Kabir Ibrahim, said that the worsening security was stalling quality seeds in the country, saying reports showed that seed companies were being confronted with challenges in the distribution.

 

According to him, seed companies operating in the country have stopped providing seeds to Nigerian farmers over insecurity. This, according to the AFAN national president, is expected to pose threat to the country’s bid to attain food security and self-sufficiency post-COVID-19. In addition, Ibrahim said it could also lead to food shortage, austerity, hunger and starvation for Nigerian populace if the tide is not changed urgently.

 

However, New Telegraph gathered from the Global Yield Gap Atlas that crop productivity in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) was considerably lower than in other continents. Indeed, there was a difference of 250 per cent between potential yields and yields achieved in maize and rainfed rice in Nigeria.

 

According to the report, National Seed Road Map for Nigeria, it was estimated that 50 per cent of the gap could be reduced with the use of quality seed of improved varieties; the other 50 per cent through the application of good agronomic practices and the use of fertilisers.

 

Yet, the performance would lie below 15 per cent. Open-pollinated variety are seeds multiplied through random pollination/fertilisation, i.e., in contrast to hybrid varieties for which the crossing of parental lines is controlled.

 

Seed sector reform in Africa has not yet led to an expansion of hybrid seed production.

 

Rather, it has led to the emergence of vegetable seed companies, but at a much slower pace than in Asia and mostly in East and Southern Africa rather than West and Central Africa.

On the impact of food security and for Africa to attain the development target at ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, the report said there was need to tackle economic and nutritional challenges through accelerated agricultural development, with a laser focus on the improvement on its seed sector was urgently required.

 

The availability of locallybred and adapted varieties will facilitate the rapid expansion of production, increase the supply of affordable vegetables to consumers, enrich the farmers and ultimately increase the contribution of the agricultural sector to the economy.

 

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