The director-general of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo, has said the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act 2021 recently signed into law will incentivise national and multinational agribusiness investments in Nigeria.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Act and stakeholders meeting today (August 12), he said the country’s agricultural sector transformation was a significant reason why the country should pay attention to PVP which, according to him, has the potential to transform the fortunes of farmers across the country by improving the farm output which will in turn ensure food security for the country.
“We will begin to see on our farmers’ fields superior yielding, stress tolerant, disease resistant, climate smart and input efficient varieties which will be introduced by innovative breeders both from the public and the private sectors in few years to come.
“In addition to the above, we will begin to witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result of the increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country,” he said.
The NASC boss said the council had already started doing what is necessary to ensure that the country does not only have the PVP law, but that it implements it for the impacts to be delivered to the farmers and the entire Nigerians.
“NASC has commenced actions to set up a functional PVP office to receive and process applications for the granting of a plant variety protection rights in Nigeria from anywhere in the world. We are also working to develop supporting regulations that will help implement the Act,” he pointed out.
A representative of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG), Ms. Gloria Ekpo, tasked Nigerians to approach the implementation of the PVP with a sense of urgency to strengthen partnerships for resilient seeds’ regulations through catalytic investments into the seeds sector, tackle high level insecurity for sustainable and inclusive seeds systems and agricultural transformation in the country.
“There is no doubt that the implementation of Plant Variety Protection Act will assist to better position Nigeria to feed her growing population and equally attract foreign investments into the seed sub-sector as well as enjoy the gains of intra- and inter-border trade opportunities in seed trade and exports.
“Indeed, hunger has been on the rise for several years in Nigeria and with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, affordability, availability and accessibility to nutritious foods is increasingly becoming difficult for 52 million food insecure Nigerians.
“It is our belief that plant breeders and farmers can offer solutions to these challenges of food insecurity. But, in order to succeed, they need the right tools – and that requires us to re-orient food systems so that the plant breeders and farmers are given opportunities to thrive, and to be fairly rewarded for the work they do.
“With increased incomes and profits among small-scale farmers and plant breeders, their businesses are invested back into local economies, where they create jobs and equitable growth. This is crucial for creating opportunities for rural youth and to live and thrive in their various communities.
“Furthermore, as we intentionally integrate digitization into the seed-subsector processes, service delivery will be improved for small-scale farmers, interactive digital extension sessions and user-friendly mobile applications can be facilitated and strengthened with farmers on sustainable agronomic practices. This will further unlock competitiveness within the agri-food ecosystem with appropriate demand forecasts”, she added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, said “one of the key issues to the development of agriculture is innovation and research. All countries of the world that have succeeded in improving their agricultural production did that through innovation and research.
“In spite of all the challenges, we have 35 seed companies in Nigeria, in one of our high-level meeting on economy sustainability, some people came with the idea that there is an emergency and we need to import seeds, and I said no. I told them we have enough seeds in this country, but the issue is access to getting seeds or information. It is very important that the PVP is diligently implemented, we should engage all the stakeholders in this business,” he added.