…says will protect plant breeders, researchers
By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, has thrown weight behind the Plant Variety Protection, PVP, Bill following the bid to give protection to Nigerian plant breeders and researchers.
Speaking on the issue and why AFAN is supporting the passage of the Bill, the National President of AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said the Bill will further strengthen the nation’s seed industry and boost farmers’ productivity along various value chains.
Ibrahim assured that farmers in the country are backing passage of the PVP Bill, Biosafety Bill, and Seed Act, which he made their stance known at the National Assembly public hearing while making input.
However, there are calls from some quarters urging President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison the PVP bill, which some organizations claim will not favour farmers if assented to.
ALSO READ: Eid-el-Fitr: I’m delightful seeing Christians breaking fast, extending gifts to Muslims ― Buhari
He said: “The PVP Bill is the copyright over varieties developed by breeders and farmers alike simple. Without the protection provided by PVP, the efforts of Nigerian researchers and breeders would be hijacked and other people will be reluctant to avail the farmers with their material for use without control or remuneration.
“From the foregoing, the farmers have a simple mind and fully understand these bills and believe they will help them to carry on with their businesses sustainably.
“Mr President is invited to kindly assent to the PVP Bill for the benefit of the Nigerian farmers.”
Speaking on the Biosafety bill, he pointed out that the authority to regulate the technology is vested in the National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA because it has the statutory powers to permit the use of Genetically Modified crops when it is satisfied.
“There is no scientifically established nexus between GMO and cancer but the Anti’s are all over the place trying to scuttle the effort to embrace Biotechnology which leads to the production of GM Technology that helps in the production of seeds which are high yielding, drought, and disease-resistant thereby taking the farmer out of poverty.
ALSO READ: Southern Reps back region’s Govs’ resolutions on restructuring, true federalism, ban on open grazing, others
He also said the Seed Act 2019 has better positioned the National Agricultural Seed Council in terms of carrying out its mandates, which currently adds value to farmers’ productivity and boosts national food security and nutrition.
“Seed Act 2019 already signed into law makes the NASC (National Agricultural Seed Council) the regulating authority of Agricultural seed in Nigeria.
“The seed system is vital to Agricultural growth and requires extreme care in handling and use because it has life. There is a clear distinction between seed and grain.
“Unless this is properly regulated the farmers will continue to plant grains instead of seeds and thereby remain poor due to low yield.
“Hybridization on farms and laboratories is allowed and regulated in the seed Act as such the farmers can retain the seeds that they develop over time”, he said.