Abuja, Oct. 12, 2023: The Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), on Wednesday decried the exclusion of its members in government funding to reposition seed companies in the country.
SEEDAN President, Mr Yusuf Ado-Kibiya, who made the allegation at his maiden news conference after his election in Abuja, said that no fewer than 420 seed companies were affected.
According to him, inconsistent government policies and lack of access to credit facilities are stifling the growth and productivity of seed companies in the country.
He alleged that many government agencies in charge of contracting seed procurement gave it to their cronies and contractors who mopped up the grains in place of seeds in local markets, thereby starving the seed companies of patronage.
Ado-Kibiya said agriculture remained the backbone of every economy, while seeds remained the foundation of crop farming.
He called on government to pay attention to seed production, saying the average Nigerian seed gave a yield of 10 tons per hectare.
“Agriculture has been the backbone of every economy worldwide and seed is the most important factor in agricultural development.
“When you talk about development or economic growth worldwide, agriculture has been the foundation, but regrettably in Nigeria, we have been having problems of inconsistencies in government policies over the years.
“Seed has not been given the attention it deserves. Without good seeds, you cannot succeed; all other inputs are partners in the process of developing the plant.”
While acknowledging seeds as a big business, Ado-Kibiya urged the government to support research institutes as they formed the basis for producing quality seed for agriculture.
“Seed is not a small business; it includes a lot of works along the chain of production, and there are a lot of activities, commitment and job opportunities.
“The research institutes in Nigeria are not supported, government should do something because research is the fundamental base where you produce success especially in agriculture, so government should support research and seed companies.
“We are over 420 seed companies in Nigeria and we are on our own, there were policies that really helped in the previous years and these policies are no longer possible because they were not sustained by successive governments.”
He, however, called for policy frameworks to support the seed companies, especially in the areas of funding and patronage especially from government agencies.
“Seed companies are not really supported in terms of policies to ease access to fund, funding is critical but financial institutions do not even understand what agriculture is.
“So, government should come up with policies that will ease access to funds for seed companies, extension services has collapsed, farmers are on their own with knowledge.
“Farmers are not being educated to buy seeds from competent companies, companies will produce seeds, there is no market to sell.
“They end up selling the seeds as grains because the government agencies don’t patronise seed companies”, the SEEDAN President added.