West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme, (WAAPP-Nigeria), in collaboration with some research institutes in Nigeria has produced and released a total of 966.5 metric tonnes of certified seeds to farmers for the current planting season.
The National Project Coordinator, WAAPP-Nigeria, Prof. Damian Chikwendu stated this in Abuja at a meeting with seven private seed companies collaborating with WAAPP for the purpose of availing certified seeds to Nigerian farmers.
A breakdown of the figures shows that a total of 434 metric tonnes of rice, 432.5 metric tonnes of maize and 100 metric tonnes of Sorghum were produced and distributed to farmers through the seed companies. According to the Coordinator, the seeds being targeted for production by WAAPP are the high yielding and drought resistant varieties. These include Samas 16, 26, Ife High Breed 3 and 4, for maize. Others are Faro 44, 50, 51, 52, Nerica 8, and Faro 59 and FK 512, BSR 01, 02, and KSB for sorghum.
Addressing the operators of the private seed companies, Prof. Chikwendu reiterated that the objective of WAAPP is to produce enough genetic materials in form of certified and foundation seeds in the priority agricultural commodities of rice, maize sorghum, yam and cassava to enable farmers increase their productivity. The seeds, he said, would be provided to farmers through States’ Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs), the research institutes and colleges of agriculture as well as universities collaborating with WAAPP, who are the immediate hosts to the farmers in the adopted villages and the agricultural innovation platforms.
WAAPP is interested in producing certified seeds to go round to the Nigerian farmers. The project is currently targeting 1.5 million farmers. To this end, WAAPP has already acquired substantial quantity of breeder seeds which will be released to the private seed companies at subsidized rates for processing into foundation seeds. These foundation seeds will then be certified by the National Seed Council before being released to farmers.
While commending the efforts of the various seeds companies for their timely delivery of foundation seeds to farmers for the current farming seasons, Prof. Chikwendu disclosed that WAAPP is fully aware of the hanky-panky business being perpetrated by some seed companies. He said WAAPP would withdraw dealings with any Seed companies that fail to meet the specifications of the National Seed Council.