[Kaduna: Feb. 26, 2023] Farmers in Nigeria have been urged to stop using grains as seeds in order to increase harvests. Speaking in Kaduna during a meeting with farmers, Mr. Brighton Karume, Managing Director of ECOBasic Seeds Company Limited, said the country would be food secure if small-holders used certified hybrid seeds every planting season.
“The federal government has a robust agricultural policy framework and a conducive environment to ensure the country becomes self-sufficient in food production. However, government efforts and goodwill are not recording the appropriate results because only a few farmers plant quality and healthy seeds, while others plant grains that are meant for consumption,” he said.
He blamed this on misinformation, noting that most farmers consider purchasing seeds from accredited seed companies to be a waste of money. “Unfortunately, what they plant every year and store for the next planting season is grain, the purity of which is questionable and the germination rate cannot be guaranteed,” he warned.
Mr Karume called for a national drive to educate farmers on the differences between seeds and grains. “Grains are meant to be used for food, so they are not treated and have low germination rate. On the other hand, seeds are not meant to be eaten because they are treated to protect them from diseases and pest attacks and are meant to be planted,” he added. ECOBasic was established two years ago to produce foundation seeds that are used by seed companies to produce certified seeds for farmers.
“ECOBasic serves as an important link between research institutions that have the mandate to develop/produce, and release breeder seeds, and seed companies that produce certified seeds and sell them to farmers. The absence of intermediaries like ECOBasic Seed Company in the Nigerian seed sector is blamed for the proliferation and adulteration of seeds and the existence of fake seeds in the country,” he said.
Mr Karume said advocacy drives were paying fruit, with many smallholders gradually taking up certified seeds. “We are uniquely positioned to make the highest quality hybrid seeds available to seed companies for distribution to farmers. If a quarter of maize farmers in Nigeria plant hybrid seeds in the coming planting season, Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in maize production will receive a significant boost,” he said