…NASC says Nigeria remains seed producing giant in Africa

…IAR promises to support EcoBasic to succeed

…ECOBasic game-changer in seed value chain-AGRA

By Gabriel Ewepu

THE nation’s agricultural sector received a boost as African Agricultural Technology Foundation, AATF, Wednesday, launched a new seed company called ECOBasic Seed Company Limited, to fill gap in seed value chain to galvanize food production.

The Executive Director, AATF, Dr Canisius Kanangire, stated this in a remark, while speaking on the essence of launching ECOBasic Seed Company as AATF’s ‘baby’ that would basically focus on production of Foundation Seeds of the highest quality and purity for hybrid seed production for seed companies.

Kanangire said: “Today we have begun a new phase in our quest to improve agriculture on the continent and Nigeria in particular from the point of seeds.

“The company we are launching here today can best be described as a child of necessitate that is created to fill a vacuum that have denied our farmers access to quality and pure seeds.

“It is a strategic priority for every West Africa nation to be self-sufficient in agricultural food production, and the journey to food security begins with high quality foundation seed with undiluted purity.

“ECOBasic seed company is driven by the mission to sustainably produce foundation seeds of the highest quality and purity for hybrid seed production for seed companies, thereby enhancing profitability, productivity, and food security in West Africa.

“ECOBasic Seed Company is coming at a time when the seed sub-sector in the region needs a vibrant player to fill in the gap. Without your support and collaboration, our dream of building a very vibrant, strong, and reliable foundation seed company to meet the growing needs of seed companies would remain a mirage.

“Given the low adoption rate of hybrid maize in the country, ECOBasic Seed Company and its partners will utilize a multi-pronged marketing strategy targeted at each customer segment to create awareness about the use of hybrid seed. The marketing strategy will focus on engaging seed companies to buy and sell hybrid seed.

“Hybrids are higher yielding than open-pollinated varieties if grown under suitable conditions. One of the barriers to the uptake of Hybrids is the availability of quality foundation seed in sufficient quantity. This we are hopeful, ECOBasic Seed will quickly address.

“It is our believe that through the reliable production and supply of high-quality seed, we will enhance the access to and availability of clean foundation seed for commercial seed companies, to ensure optimal seed yield on the fields of seed producers and sufficient seed production for commercial use. ECOBasic Seed Company Limited will produce, process, and supply high-quality foundation seed to companies, across the Nigerian and West African seed markets.”

He also pointed that Africa has remained the leading continent where issues of hunger and poverty has remained on the increase, and where agricultural productivity has remained at its lowest.

“The farming population in Africa is old while youths are in the town looking for white-collar jobs. We cannot continue like this; we must take our destiny in our own hands by gradually addressing the huddles that are militating against agricultural productivity.

“Quality seed is a crucial component of agricultural productivity, with high quality and pure seeds, the farmers are sure of having a good harvest. If we can solve the challenges associated with seeds on the continent, then our agriculture can be on the path to growth”, he added.

Meanwhile, according to the Managing Director, ECOBasic Seed Company, Brighton Karume, in the short – Medium term ECOBasic will concentrate in Nigeria whilst in the long run it will serve target the greater ECOWAS Region.

“It will target indigenous and internation seed companies that produce certified hybrid seed. Currently, ECOBasic is focusing on foundation seed for hybrid seed maize production

“The prospects for the company is to be recognized as West Africa’s most reliable source of high-quality foundation seed; In order to achieve its business goals ECOBasic needs to adopt in-house (own farm production) of foundation seed to meet the quality assurance and productivity parameters; In the medium to long term, it will explore a range of opportunities to leverage its brand, increase its impact, customer-centric growth and generate additional revenue

“ECOBasic Seed will expand its product portfolio to include additional staple grain crops such as rice, cowpea, soybean and sorghum and will expand to new markets within West Africa”, Karume said.
Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the Director-General National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, promised to support ECOBasic to hit the ground running as Nigeria is Africa’s giant in seed production and supply in Africa, which supplies 50 per cent of seeds demand to farmers in the region.

Also Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru, Prof Mohammad Ishiyaku, said the institute will give support for ECOBasic to succeed to meet the demands of farmers with good seeds.

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