The minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said that Nigeria needs a seed industry revolution with its supply/demand gap of about N81 billion for quality seeds.
He stated this yesterday in his keynote address at the workshop on ‘Developing a Rapid Action Plan for Quality Seed Production and Presentation of the Alliance for a Seed Industry in West Africa,” held in Abuja.
Speaking on the current seed demands for Nigeria, Ogbeh said, “It is worth noting that the estimated annual seed demand in Nigeria for 2016 is about 350,000 metric tonnes (mt) for rice, maize and sorghum with an approximate seed industry value of N112 billion ($564 million).
“The 2015 annual production was about 122,000mt valued at N43 billion ($216 illion). This, effectively translates into a supply/demand gap of about 231,000mt valued at N81 billion ($409 million). The gap is filled through the massive use of low quality seeds, such as seeds preserved by farmers, and supplies from unscrupulous seed merchants.
“We must reverse this unhealthy situation in order to increase the productivity and competitiveness of agriculture, generate more income for farmers, through bumper yields, and block the huge loss of funds within the system,” he said, underscoring the critical importance of food security as the most important form of security for guaranteeing the sovereignty of a state.
The minister further stated that “if we must sustainably feed our teeming population of 170 million people, and also serve as the food basket for the West and Central Africa sub-regions, in view of their increasing reliance on us for some of their food