Amidst the glooming effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s food production, the National Agricultural Seed Council, (NASC), has disclosed plans to ensure that farmers have access to about 81,000 metric tonnes of certified seeds available through its accredited seed companies, in preparation for the 2020 planting season. The certified seeds available include 30,000mt of rice, 4000mt of maize hybrid, 3000mt of sorghum, 4000mt of soybean, 1500mt of cowpea, 550mt of millet, 6000mt of groundnut, 2,500mt of wheat, 40,000mt of sesame, and a host of others.
Dr. Philip Ojo, NASC Director-General, during a virtual press conference, acknowledged that companies were having challenges delivering certified seeds to farmers due to inter-state restriction of movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He however assured the public that the council was working with various stakeholders to implement various coping actions that would help the sector to continue to function even in the midst of the crisis.
Ojo highlighted the actions to include: structuring seed trade and agro-inputs in designated markets and on specific days, while complying with social distancing directives of relevant government agencies at the local, state and federal levels. He explained that it would be done using a decentralised model for organising the markets that allows quality seed and agro-inputs to be transported close to farmers, and thus reduce the distance that farmers need to travel to access the agro-inputs. This Day