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Showing posts with label seed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seed. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sustainable seed businesses to transform cassava production in Nigeria

Stakeholders have said that businesses selling improved varieties and high quality cassava stems for cultivation could help African farmers significantly raise their productivity, especially in Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered will mean more Naira from the same land, inputs and effort.

Stakeholders at the end of a national conference on cassava seed system organized by the project, “Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System” (BASICS) that was held at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) (, Ibadan last week Thursday.

“The benefits of this raised productivity will be enjoyed by all the stakeholders across the value chain in a sustainable way,” part of the resolution stated.

The meeting, which reflected on the experiences of BASICS in 2016 and refined the project plan for 2017 and beyond, brought together national and international researchers, academics, policymakers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and farmers to a roundtable.

Making the case for urgent need for all the stakeholders to work towards a sustainable seed system in Nigeria, Hemant Nitturkar, Project Director for BASICS, reminded the participants that Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with a production of about 54 million tons, but its yield per hectare of cassava roots is about 8 tons, less than half of the realizable yields of more than 20 tons per hectare. Researchers say one of the factors responsible for the low yield of cassava is the low adoption of clean and healthy seeds of improved varieties of cassava by farmers.

“We have to start with the right planting material and nurture it with good agronomy and weed management practices. Each of these three components has the potential to raise the productivity of cassava by 30 percent. If we do not improve our practices in seed, weed and agronomy, we are incurring a lost opportunity of about 200 billion Naira annually from each of the three issues,” he explained.

BASICS is commercially piloting two distinct pathways of seed delivery. In one, called Village Seed Entrepreneur (VSE) model, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Benue and with National Roots Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), in Abia, Imo, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, the project is helping develop a network of 130 community based seed enterprises. These VSEs will source certified stems of improved varieties of cassava from NRCRI and IITA to multiply and sell to the farmers in their vicinity. This way, the farmers will not have to go far to source quality stems for planting. In the second pilot called Processor Led Model (PLM), in partnership with Context Global Development, the project is working with large processors of cassava who will then make available quality stems to their outgrowers with a buy back arrangement for the roots produced.

Slow and low multiplication ratio has been a key constraint in cassava seed system. The project is piloting a new technology called Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) for vastly rapid seed multiplication. Once this technology from Argentina is adapted and perfected in Nigeria by the Project, it is expected to have a significant impact on the ability of early generation seed businesses to quickly bring suitable varieties within reach of farmers. The project is also working with National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and Fera of UK to improve the quality certification system in Nigeria.

Lawrence Kent, a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the aim of the Project is to build an economically sustainable seed system that is profitable both to the sellers of quality stems and to the farmers who purchase and plant those stems. He encouraged all to create reusable bridges to continuously link technology developers with farmers through business oriented approaches, like the one being implemented under BASICS.

Graham Thiele, Director for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas led by the International Potato Center (CIP); Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development and Delivery, and Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project; Amin Babandi, Director of Agriculture, FMARD, represented by Segun Ayeni, Deputy Director, Roots and Tuber crops, FMARD; Folusho Olaniyan OON, CEO, Contact Consulting Nigeria and Program Director, AgraInnovate West Africa; Emmanuel Okogbenin, Director of Technical Operations, AATF and Robert Asiedu, Director R4D, IITA-West, all shared perspectives and added their voice for all stakeholders to jointly build a strong and sustainable seed system for cassava in Nigeria and wished all the stakeholders well.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FG dismantles bottlenecks to seed industry growth

The Federal Government of Nigeria has assured that it will dismantle all bottlenecks which stand in the way of growth of the seed industry in Nigeria, NaijaAgroNet reports.

This disclosure was made recently by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sonny Echono, at the launch of the Nigerian Chapter of the Alliance for Seed Industry in West Africa (ASIWA) in Abuja.

Echono, NaijaAgroNet gathered, said that efforts must be made to identify relevant issues and remove all bottlenecks to the smooth growth of the seed sector in order to make quality seeds available to farmers.

He disclosed that the Federal Government was planning to train 100 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to ensure production and marketing of good quality seeds by various seed producers.

The permanent secretary said that the Federal Government had also sanctioned by de-listing some seed companies, who supplied adulterated and poor quality seeds to farmers, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

 “To achieve the laudable objectives particularly in the seed sector, it is imperative that the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) as the government agency responsible for seed industry development must be fully supported to perform. NASC must come out with specific recommendations, to create a sound level, sustainable dissemination and strategies for improved crops to resource poor farmers in the country,” Echono stated.

For the country to achieve the objectives of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda launched in 2011, he said, it was necessary to provide the right policy to protect seed production, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

Cyriacus Nnaji/ GEE

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