An expert has stated that Nigeria’s quest to be self-sufficient in food production will remain a mirage as long as farmers continue to plant grains as seeds. The managing director of ECOBasic Seeds Company Limited, Mr. Brighton Karume made this observation while interacting with a group of farmers in Kaduna over the weekend.
He noted that while the Federal Government has a robust agricultural policy framework and a conducive environment to ensure self-sufficiency in food production, government efforts and goodwill are not recording the appropriate results because only a few farmers plant quality and healthy seeds, while others plant grains that should be meant for consumption.
“It is very important to educate farmers on the differences between seeds and grains. Grains are meant to be used for food, so they are not treated and there is no need to pay attention to their germination rate. On the other hand, seeds are not meant to be eaten because they are treated to protect them from diseases and pest attacks and are meant to be planted,” he added.
According to Karume, most farmers consider purchasing seeds from accredited seed companies a waste of money. Unfortunately, what they plant every year and store for the next planting season are grains whose purity is questionable, and their germination rate cannot be guaranteed. He stressed the need to educate farmers on the differences between seeds and grains, noting that grains are meant for food consumption, while seeds are treated to protect them from diseases and pest attacks and are meant to be planted.
Karume revealed that ECOBasic Seeds Company Limited was established to bridge a vital gap in the nation’s seed sub-sector. In its two years of operation, the company has become one to reckon with in the production of crucial foundation seeds needed by seed companies in the country to produce certified seeds for farmers. He noted that the absence of intermediaries like ECOBasic Seeds Company in Nigeria’s seed sector is responsible for the proliferation and adulteration of seeds, as well as the existence of fake seeds in the country.
“ECOBasic Seeds Company Limited serves as an important link between research institutions mandated to develop and produce breeder seeds and seed companies that produce certified seeds for farmers. Karume emphasised that the company was established to act as a game changer for the whole of West Africa’s seed sector and that it has taken the task with all the seriousness it deserved. He further stated that the company is uniquely positioned to make the highest quality hybrid seeds available to seed companies for distribution to farmers, adding that if a quarter of maize farmers in Nigeria plant hybrid seeds in the coming planting season, Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in maize production will receive a significant boost,” he assured.