Agricultural Development Programme Managers in the country (Nigeria) have identified inadequacy of seed companies as a major factor militating against Agricultural Productivity.
This formed a major part of their submission at the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme in Nigeria (WAAPP-Nigeria) 2014 Seed Production Planning held in Minna, the Niger State Capital.
The National Coordinator, Prof. Damian Chikwendu, says only five per cent of Nigerian farmers have access to improved seeds.
He said that Nigeria had the lowest agriculture growth indices among leading developing nations like Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand.
He said that WAAPP would collaborate with ADPs, AFAN, and Community Based Associations under the supervision of the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) to achieve significant results.
The coordinator said that WAAPP in 2013 had inaugurated seven private seed companies to produce maize, rice and sorghum seeds.
Also the companies had produced 432 tonnes of various varieties of maize and 150 tonnes of improved sorghum seeds. According to him, 172 tonnes of rice and 15.603 tonnes of sorghum had been distributed to farmers in WAAPP adopted villages.
The Governor of Niger, Dr Babangida Aliyu, thanked WAAPP for bringing the meeting that would intervene in the seed sector to the state. The Governor was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim.
He said that the state has 10 per cent of the arable land in the country, adding that the state had water bodies that would encourage aqua culture.
The Governor stressed the need for mechanization, saying that less than one per cent of fish farmers had access to facilities to dry their fish.
He solicited the support of the private sector in the programme, saying that the state had voted 50,000 hectares to Dangote Group of Companies to cultivate rice in the state.
He assured WAAPP of government’s support to make the programme a success.
The meeting was attended by Chief Executives of Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) across the nation.
Others at the meeting included Agricultural Research Institutes and the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).