How low investment in seeds hampers Nigeria’s food security

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Access to adequate, secured and timely supply of quality seeds that can improve farmers’ yield per hectare is a major hurdle on the nation’s quest to return to its heydays with agriculture.

Nigeria’s failure to invest in seeds has created a yawning seed gap estimated at N525 billion, leaving farmers to low quality inputs that portend danger to crop production and the country’s food-sufficiency target.

“Most of the seeds in the market today are imported and this is because we do not produce enough seeds. The research institutes that are mandated to produce improved varieties of seeds are not doing anything,” Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, Aquashoot Limited, told BusinessDay.

“There are lots of adulterated seeds in the country today because demand is much higher than supply. The level of investments in the industry is low. To bridge the gap, a lot of merchants are importing these seeds for farmers,” Olorundenro said.

Despite the growth recorded in the numbers of seed companies in Nigeria, investment in the subsector is still low as farmers still find it difficult to easily access improved seeds and seedlings to cultivate.

“A lot of farmers are no longer growing cotton because of low patronage and lack of inputs. The inputs we get from the government usually come very late. When you delay in planting cotton, it affects the productivity,” said Abubakar Shiyaki, a cotton farmer in Niger state.

“When we buy our seeds ourselves, we only buy low quality seeds. As a result of all these challenges, a lot of farmers growing cotton are now growing other crops because they cannot break even with cotton,” Shiyaki said.

Nigeria’s seed industry potential stands at N777.38 billion, while what is locally available is estimated at N252.35 billion, thereby leaving a gap of N525.04 billion. … Read More...