By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, on Friday, expressed optimism over a policy document on seeds production and management to serve as a reference point in identifying varieties.
This was expressed in an address by the Director-General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, at a one-day ‘Stakeholders’ Review and Validation Workshop on the Draft National Descriptors for Select Varieties of Maize, Rice and Soybean’ held in Abuja.
Ojo explained that the essence of the workshop is to review, validate and adopt the document that will enhance production and management of seed fields, where it will assist in accurately and appropriately reporting and identifying seed varieties.
The project according to him is being supported and funded by USAID, AGRA, and other partners under the Partnership for inclusive Agricultural transformation in Africa (PIATA) through a grant to the NASC, which he appreciated Premier Seeds and Value Seeds for being part of the process.
He also acknowledged mandate research institutes (NCRI and IAR) and other partners, Plant Breeders and Seed Scientists who have provided the much-needed technical backstopping in ensuring NASC arrive at a result fair and robust enough for the National System.
He said: “I am encouraged to see all of you here: Experts from the Government, the National Agricultural Research Institutes, CGIER center, Universities, Seed Companies, Donor agencies and other partners who are here today to join us in this important national task.
“Today, the Document we have gathered here to review, validate, and adopt will help in no small measure in the production and management of seed fields. This document will serve as a reference material inaccurately and appropriately reporting and identifying varieties based on established true characters.
“I wish to reiterate, amongst others, that this document will form a body of knowledge for our Seeds Certification officers in ensuring the production of Good quality seeds: this document will help them in; Appropriately and correctly differentiating one variety from another; Facilitates purification (Removing and rouging mixtures/off type at different stages of crop growth); Authenticating the variety prior to harvest, to processing and to packaging.”
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However, the NASC boss said the process is not yet completed as NASC has just done characterization for a few out of the many crop varieties released and registered into the seeds system.
He also stated that government alone cannot do everything, but acknowledged those who have funded this process, especially AGRA and USAID.
“I am not oblivious of the fact that this process is not yet completed as we have just done characterization for a few out of the many crop varieties released and registered into the seeds system.
“I wish to state that we will continue to work with interested parties and partners to advance from where we are today to have more varieties and crops characterized. The Government cannot do this alone and that’s why we are highly grateful to those who have funded this process. Again, thank you to AGRA and USAID”, he said.