Calls on all stakeholders to ensure full implementation of Act

As AFAN, NESG, NPBA, others express hope over Act

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Federal Government and National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Thursday, unveiled a seed game-changer, the Plant Variety Protection, PVP, Act 2021 to boost the nation’s seed and food systems.

In a keynote address by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, said the basic issue about the PVP Act 2021 is implementation, which there will be a serious focus on it including periodic meetings with stakeholders to assess implementation.

Nanono said: “Over the years Nigeria derailed in research. We need to be serious with research if we want to develop agriculture.

“One of the key issues in developing the agricultural sector is innovation and research.

“All the countries in the world that have succeeded in improving agricultural production is through wholistic research and innovation.

“We cannot bring in seed to Nigeria unto Nigeria under emergency. We have enough seed in this country, the issue is the access in getting seeds.

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“The other aspect is making law but when it comes to implementation that is where the problem wit us. It is important to state that the Plant Variety Protection Act is indigenous enthroned and implemented.

“On regular basis we must engage all the stakeholders in this business to discuss and review the implementation process.”

He further stated that, “This Act will enrich Nigeria and Nigerian farmers. But the issue is this, the country is rich but the people are poor in heart to address these fundamental issues. Agriculture is what is holding the unity of Nigeria.”

He also acknowledged the committee chairmen on agriculture in both the Senate and House of Representatives for pushing to ensure passage of the Plant Variety Protection Bill that was assented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council, Dr Philip Ojo, in delivering a remark at the unveiling of the PVP Act 2021, expressed gratitude for assent to the PVP Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, while speaking on the importance, implementation, possible transformation of the seed industry towards high farmers’ productivity and boost it will bring in food production, availability, affordability, accessibility, and profitability.

Ojo said: “Today is very significant because it is the unveiling of Plant Variety Protection Law. It is an innovation we are bringing into the agricultural space in Nigeria that is also what other countries have been doing, and we are bringing it on board today.

“The importance of having a PVP law in place cannot be over emphasized. Nigeria’s agricultural sector transformation is  a significant reason why the country should pay attention to Plant Variety Protection, PVP. This would incentivize national and multinational agribusiness investments in the country.

“We will begin to see on our farmers’ field superior yielding, stress tolerant, disease resistant, climate smart and input efficient varieties which will be introduced by innovative breeders both from the public and private sectors in few years to come.

“In addition to the above, we will begin to witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result of the increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country.    

“We want the media to amplify it to rest of the world that Nigeria has gotten a PVP law which is to assist our farmers to get increased yield, and there is going to be food security in Nigeria.

“From this a lot of income will be generated even by breeders because it is an innovation that is going to bring a lot of revenue. We are thinking of about N3 billion annually.

“On implementation, a lot of documents are being prepared, we will bring on guidelines for proper implementation because implementation is very key and that is one of those things we are doing exactly here, and also a lot of stakeholders are involved in this process of implementation including the media to ensure that we have full implementation. We are going to be having stakeholders’ meeting regularly to see where we are and how we move forward.”

Sponsor of PVP Bill and Chairman House Committee on Agric Colleges and Institutions, Hon Munir Danagudi, asserted that there is no enough seed in the country, “Seed is still not available in qualities and quantities to meet our crop production requirements.

“Our smallholder farmers in rural communities only have what they inherited from their forefathers this is not acceptable in the 21st century.

The seed system should be thoroughly overhauled.

“A lot of seminars have been done in the past aimed at improving services we should dust the reports and implement them, we should also ensure adequate supply of breeder and foundation seeds that would meet requirements for production of such seeds to farmers.

“What we have in our research institutes is very pathetic. What we should start today is to grow agriculture and the seed system must be addressed and that is the early generation seeds.

“We give mandate to the research institutes to see how much early generation seeds and our strategic crops they will produce for the country in the next three years so that there will be added value to what we are doing.

“We have seen we have seen institutions where there is billions of Naira institution but you cannot get a seed worth a hundred million Naira.”

Hon. Muntari Dandutse Mohammad, Chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services said, “The Plant Variety Protection Act is very important, and implementation of this Act will bring productivity of farmers and protect rights of companies that are into breeding of seeds.

“As matter of fact, most of the countries that are developed set targets on productivity. This Act will protect the companies and no one will interfere with the operations of another. If you are setting a target for your company you will be protected by this Act.

“The Act is also important because it will boost smallholder farmers’ productivity, and they have been suffering postharvest losses and also wasted seeds used for planting.

“This Act is timely and will enhance food production in this country, and that is why we in the House of Representatives worked tirelessly to ensure that this bill is being passed into law, and was assented by the President because of the strategic role is going to play in boosting food production.”

The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Arc Kbir Ibrahim, said the PVP Act 2021 is a game changer in the agricultural sector, “It is a welcomed development because it will guarantee good seeds to farmers, and the sinquon in agriculture is seed, and this means good seed and good seed means good yield, and good yield means good money for the farmer, and of course food security for Nigeria.

“Our food system will improve appreciably because once there is regulation from the Seed Council, the Seed Act 2019, the assent to the bill of PVP 2021, we are guaranteed good seeds, and with this now seed will be available, and people will plant seeds, the yield will change greatly.

“All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, will propagate this to our farmers, we disseminate this information to the 774 local government areas, and 40 million farmers that are doing agronomy.”

Facilitator for Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, Gloria Ekpo, represented the Chief Executive Office, NESG, Joseph Jaiyeola, said, “NESG has been very interested in ensuring that this bill is passed and we are glad that it has being passed because we understand food security in Nigeria for the fact that it is going to give the smallscale farmer the opportunity to build on effectiveness and availability of seeds because seeds have been very expensive, and it gives every farmer the opportunity to access seeds. The farmers will earn better income, have good seeds and affordable.

“Also plant breeders now have the opportunity to do what they know how to do best and their intellectual property will be preserved.

“We are part of the process of implementing the Act, and implementation has been part of the advocacy and not just at the National Assembly but also at the farming communities and private sector players with.”

President, Nigerian Plant Breeders’ Association, NPBA, Prof Chiedozie Egesi, expressed hope that with the PVP Act in place to boost the agricultural sector, said, “This singular act of signing the PVP bill into law by Mr President has put Nigeria on the global league of countries that apply Science and Technology as solution to their challenges, especially in the Agricultural Sector.     

“The country is losing millions of Naira to the importation of agricultural produce. Farmers in the country are faced with many challenges ranging from low productivity due to increasing cases of insect and pest infestation, soil infertility and a devastating climate change.

“As a country, the PVP Act will facilitate the development of new plant varieties that are resilient in the face of climate change and population growth so that farmers can provide nutritious and healthy food for everyone.

“Also, it will provide a system of reward for investment made by plant breeders thereby serving as a motivation for plant breeders to continue developing improved crop varieties that enhances the sustainability of the agricultural sector. It will promote agricultural innovations and enhance the development of the seed sector.

“We are in the middle of a genetic revolution that has given rise to new insights and possibilities. The wholistic deployment of biotechnology in the field of plant breeding as one of the most potent options to turn these challenges into opportunities for Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.”

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