…introduces security certification traceable tags
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- THE National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Friday, disclosed that fake seed producers would pay N2 million fine for violating the new Seed Act 2019 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was made known by the Director General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, at a press conference held at the national headquarters of the Council at Sheda in Abuja.
According to Ojo the law governing the country’s seed industry was to enacted to ensure farmers get the best of seeds for a bumper harvest that would help the economy and also to create wealth for themselves as agribusiness people, hence the stringent measures that would curtail and eradicate the menace of fake and adulterated seeds that have ruined the finances of farmers over the years.
He further warned those involved in illegal seed business who are defrauding the government and farmers by not being accredited by NASC are doing that at their own peril since they do not have the right approval to trade in seed, engage in false labeling, selling seeds in an open container, using unbranded packaging materials, fraud in marketing seeds, failure to keep proper records, because NASC will go all out to deal with them as it is prohibited under the Seed Act.
The National Agricultural Seeds Council Act 2019 is geared towards promoting, stimulating the development of a dependable seed industry, regulate and control the registration of released crop varieties, protect the farmers from the sales of poor quality seeds, facilitate the production and marketing of high quality seeds and provide legal backing for official testing certification, sales, importation, exportation, and use of seeds in Nigeria.
He said: “The story is no longer the same as henceforth, anyone who contravenes the provision of the seed law as a fist offender will be sentenced to jail for a period of one year or pay a fine of N1 million or both subject to a court of competent jurisdiction.
“A repeated offender will be liable to imprisonment for two years or pay a fine of N2 million or both, after which the licenses of the unrepentant offender will be withdrawn or such offenders will be place on suspension from operating as a seed enterprise.
“The NASC therefore wishes to sound loudly a note of warning to anyone or agency who have form the habit of engaging in any form of seed business without recourse to the Seed Act to desist from such henceforth.
Meanwhile, in protecting quality seeds from being adulterated or faked by criminals in the industry, the Council has introduced security certification tags to sanitise the seed space in the country with this innovation under the new seed act, which is an initiative launched earlier this with support from the Alliance for s Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, under the umbrella of the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa, PIATA, with the aim of traceability to the council for first-hand information on the authenticity of the seeds farmers purchase from any vendor.
The NASC boss said, “The tags will portion that could be scratched with serialized electronic codes which the farmer will be able through SMS to send a dedicated NASC number in our office here from where he will receive immediately information on the genuineness of the seed he is purchasing. Seed producers on their won part will be rest assured that their product can no longer be counterfeited as the NASC tags issued to them cannot be faked by unscrupulous elements.”