Posted by Adaora Anozie

On May 10, 2016

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria would in 36 months attain self-sufficiency in major agricultural products such as rice, sorghum, maize, millet, soya beans and wheat,Leadership Reports.

He said this would aid the nation’s resolve to wean itself from oil by achieving import substitution and stabilizing the economy as well as reducing the high import bill generated on food items.

The Minister made the assertion at the ‘National workshop on developing a rapid action for quality seed production’ and the presentation of the ‘Alliance for a Seed Industry in West Africa’ (ASIWA) organized by  the National Agricultural Seeds Council, (NASC).

He said the FG would support the growth of the seed industry to produce high quality seeds which in turn will lead to the production of quality grains.

‘’This is of integral importance for food security, job creation and prosperity of the economy. The production of these quality products will help reduce importation and the demand for huge foreign exchange required for food importation.’’

The Director General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, in his remarks emphasized the need for a viable seed sector to boost the nation’s economy adding that in order to attain the effort in diversification, the council had been mandated to come up with strategies that will ensure that good quality seeds are made available to farmers.

‘‘Our roles as seed industry stakeholders is very crucial because it is the fulcrum for the achievement of national seed requirement that currently stand at over 350,000 MT of which only about 123,000 MT is available as at 2015. This means that we must now double our already doubled efforts if we are to achieve this target. It means this is a term for a quadruple effort.’’

A representative of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD), Dr. Ernest Assah Asiedu, in a goodwill message commended Nigeria for its leading role in the seed sector in the West and Central African sub-region.

According to Asiedu, in 2016, out of the 114,000 tons of rice supplied by West Africa, Nigeria supplied 90,000 tons (79%)