By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The director, system and site integration, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Kwesi Atta-Krah, has urged investors in seed production plants to help meet the demand for improved seeds.
He said this will enhance quality seed availability as more stakeholders, will have access to more quality seeds. The director in an interview with journalists said though “farmers need quality seeds, they could not get them. He explained that Nigeria’s share in the seed trade is low, adding that the supply of quality seeds and improved crop varieties was weak”
He asserted that poor seed supply threatens agriculture’s contribution to economic development. Attah-Krah further disclosed that IITA was working to improve seed systems. In his words “As an emerging economy with many small-scale cultivators, Nigeria needs IITA’s relevant knowledge, expertise and investments to help develop the seed sector.
He said opportunities are available to seed companies for different crop markets, adding that the seed sector is highly segmented for different crops and seed technologies that have different biological and market characteristics. According to him, the total crop yield is determined by the genetic potential of the crop, carried in the seed with the rest apportioned to proper agronomy, use of other inputs like fertiliser and natural conditions.
For Nigeria to attain food and nutrition security that will spur inclusive growth and development, he maintained that local production of seeds of high-yielding varieties must be increased. These seeds should be tailored for specific ecological conditions to adapt to the changing climate. They must also be disease and pest resistant.