On the heels of the repositioning of the agricultural sector as a rescue alternative to the over-dependence of the nation on crude oil, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) spread its dragnet to Ibadan, Oyo State to undertake seed surveillance.
Working in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the NASC led by its Director –General, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, went on a sensitisation tour of seed markets in Ogunpa area of Ibadan on Tuesday.
The sensitisation drive laid it bare that seeds not adequately packaged and with no label and certification tags, attached or displayed in the open containers will be confiscated by the Seed Police, the NASC Seed Inspectors. But even beyond that, the DG revealed that there could be sanctions in line with the Act establishing seed trade in the country.
Ojo said penalty for an offender operating contrary to the regulations would face sanctions such as ‘Stop sales order,’ or fine ranging from N800,000 and N1,600,000 on conviction for first or second offender respectively or imprisonment. It could also result in seizure or forfeiture of the seed by the Federal Government.
Ojo advised farmers to buy seeds from registered agro-dealers and reputable seed companies advising that farmers should watch out for NASC’s blue certification tag, which convey authenticity to the quality of seed being offered for sale.
Oyo zone Chairman of the West Agro Input Dealers Association (WAIDA), Mr. Adenitan Solomon said the zone welcomes the effort of NASC to cleanse the seed market in Ibadan, and prayed the Director-General to keep the activity on a continuous basis. He said that on its own, the association has had the challenge of warning farmers to buy correctly, not angling for cheaper, but poor quality seed.
In recent times, stringent measures in relation to monitoring have been targeted at seed dealers in parts of the country like Zaria, Kaduna and Gusau due to the large volume of seed trade going on in such places.
The Council has the statutory responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the seed law as it relates to selling of fake and adulterated seed, the Director-General said.