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Food security: Nigeria requires about 312,000 metric tons of seed – Minister

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Food security: Nigeria requires about 312,000 metric tons of seed – Minister

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, says Nigeria requires about 312,000 metric tons of seed towards achieving food security, food sufficiency and global security in 2024.

Kyari said this at a High-Level Stakeholders’ Forum on Seed System Development, organised by Feed-the Future Nigeria Integrated Agriculture Activity, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The minister was represented by Dr Haruna Suleman, the Director, National Food and Strategic Reserve.

The theme of the forum is, “ Enhancing Seed Systems Development for Improved Food Security: A Paradigm of USAID Interventions in Northeast Nigeria’’.

Kyari said the ministry had outlined series of critical pathways to solve the food security challenges in Nigeria.

He explained that the pathways were streamlined into short, medium and long term for a period of four years, which includes the immediate production of 31 million metric tons of grain in 2024.

According to him, for success to be achieved, factors to be addressed are the seed availability, affordability and adaptability, paying particular attention to food security.

“Major crops that are most concerned are rice, maize, wheat, sorghum and cowpea in 2024.

“We require about 312,000 metric tons of seed which is to enable us to achieve the required metric tons.”

The minister said the Federal Government had developed programmes to support farmers with high quality seeds for rice, wheat, maize, cassava and other inputs at a subsidised rate.

Food security: Nigeria requires about 312,000 metric tons of seed – Minister

He said the Nigerian seeds development required partnership and synergy among all key stakeholders that would facilitate a model of collaboration built on knowledge sharing, skill exchange, expertise, competitiveness and mutual benefit.

“Of great interest is the new science, technology and innovation (STI) developed by USAID Feed-the Future Nigeria Integrated Agricultural Activities (NIAA) implemented by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

“It is a community based enterprises model that is not only localised but adaptable to the climatic and specific conditions of communities and above all against the traditional approach of demand driven which have not been effective.

“The NIAA model is market driven and on need based riding on cohesive cooperative system to create the needed ownership and stewardship to protect enterprises.

“This model developed and promoted by IITA and NIAA was piloted in the northeast of Nigeria in the states of Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe.

“Building an ecosystem and end-to-end market driven seed network through the community based system to produce seed to a network linked farmers group aggregated within the community with the local governments.

“This by extensions makes the availability and adaptable and specific resilience seeds to the ecology of the locations concerned,’’ he said.

Mr Prakash Silwal, Chief of Party/Principal Specialist, IITA, said that USAID had in the last five years, funded IITA and their partners to work in the northeast, to address the food insecurity.

Silwal said the forum was organised to share some of the successes so far recorded especially with a focus on seed system development.

According to him, it is the IITA’s contribution to addressing food security in the northeast, adding that the actors that made it happened would be awarded.

He said that 150 community based seed enterprises contributed to making farming possible to nearly half a million farmers or half a million hectares of land in the region.

“About 3 million dollar worth of additional food may be provided in those areas.

“As we are winding up our programmes, we are also here to share some of those knowledge that we have developed, as to what varieties of crop, legumes and cereals, will be very good in those areas,’’ he said.

Mr Bassey Archibong , Market Systems and Livelihood Specialist, Feed the Future Nigeria Integrated Agriculture Activity, IITA, said the beginning of food security anywhere was seeds.

Archibong said the programme was aimed at ensuring that farmers had the right kind of seeds that must be affordable and accessible within the localities where food crops were being produced.

Malam Yakubu Gombi, leader of Gombi Community Based Seed Producers from Adamawa, thanked IITA for its support, saying they had been empowered to become entrepreneurs.

He said the organisation had trained him and his group in different fields of agriculture with requisite skills in the last five years.

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