The AfricaSeeds, a programme of the African Union, has appealed for partnership with Nigeria to develop Africa’s seeds industry and stop the importation of seeds on the continent.
AfricaSeeds is an intergovernmental seed organisation and implementing agency for the African Union Seed Programme.
Dr Kouame Miezan, the Executive Director of the programme, made the appeal when the team visited Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja on Tuesday.
Miezan, who noted that seed was a key input and vehicle for agricultural modernization, said that no country on its own could develop the industry.
The executive director said that the country had been recognized as the shining star of the seed industry in West Africa, hence the need for the partnership.
According to him, the programme will address the inadequate availability of data, statistics and information to be used for seed planning.
“Seed planning in Africa lacks data and there is slow shift of African expertise in seed technology.
“Our young people are drifting away from seed technology as a career and we have to correct this because we have to have a replacement so that seed development will continue at a faster pace.
“The seed system is so complex that you need to work together.
“No country alone can take all the resources to develop their seed system. This is the only continental African driven seed organisation and African-owned organisation.
“We think that Nigeria can play a lead; Nigeria is recognised as the shining star of the seed industry in West Africa,’’ he said.
Ogbeh said that agriculture majored on three things ranging from seeds, water and soil.
According to him, issues of seeds are extremely strategic.
The minister said the Federal Government had mandated its Universities of Agriculture to conduct research on seeds to multiply them for farmers.
“So many things are wrong and one of them is seed so when I see scientists involved in seeds, I give them top priority.
“We have to defeat hunger, poverty and backwardness in Africa and we have to cut down on imports.
“Any support that is needed, we will give you. We are inviting many young people into agriculture and we have to give them the best to make money,’’ the minister said.
AfricaSeeds is the agency of the African Union in charge since 2010 of the implementation of the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme (ASBP).
The agency operates through collaborations with institutions, initiatives and stakeholders working in the seed sector in Africa.
The organisation aims to promote sustainable development of the seed sector to contribute to food and nutrition security and poverty reduction in Africa.