National Committee Registers, Releases 11 New Seed Varieties For Improved Agricultural Production
THE National Committee on naming, registration and release of crop varieties, livestock breeds/fishes has approved the release of 11 seed varieties for the use of Nigerian farmers.
Chairman of the committee, Mr Oladosu Awoyemi, while speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the 30th meeting of the commitee held recently at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) Conference Hall, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, informed that the meeting is usually held twice a year to consider new varieties of crops that have been bred by Nigerian research institutes and private sector companies that have come into the seed business.
The seed varieties that were registered and released by the committee include: Rice, Oat meals, Durum Wheat varieties, Cassava, Soybean, Acha, Cowpea, Yam, Kenaf, Maize and Ginger.
Awoyemi noted that:”The decree setting up that committee makes it mandatory for anyone who wants to release a new variety of crop into the Nigerian farming community to send samples of such seed to research institutes that are relevant for that. The research institute will test that seed across the ecological zones for which it is recommended and when they are satisfied that it is suitable for cultivation, then they will bring it to this committee to officially consider it for release and registration.
“We have a national register of all important crops that are produced in this country and that have been certified by this committee. And if there is any new research officer who wants to go into any crop has to go into that register to see what has been done in the past before he or she can start work on what to do in the future.”
He informed that:”the committee has considered eleven crops of forty-five new varieties and we took each variety of each crop one by one, we considered the properties of that crop to see if it is better than what our farmers are currentling growing. Now, the seed companies or the Nigerian government research institutes can go and multiply it.”
Also speaking, Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Ojo Philip, said the release of the new seed varieties will result into higher yields, better resistant crops and at the end of the day, what farmers will be taking home will as harvest will be higher because of higher yield, productivity and more income.
“If you have been using a particular variety of seed that has been giving you two tons per hectare and today a variety that is going to give you ten tons per hectare is being released, you are talking of sustainability, you are talking of enough for productivity and actually food security because you are talking of two tons per hectare before but now it is ten tons. So it is actually a lot of movement in the right direction.”
The Registrar, National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) and Chief Executive Officer, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Dr Sunday Aladele, said:”You are all aware of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is keen about people returning to the farm. No we have forty-five new varieties of eleven crops that have been registered that means everybody has choice to make now. We have diverse ecology in Nigeria and what is good for A may not be good for B but now that we have many of the crops coming on board now, then farmers can smile.”
Speaking on how farmers will have access to the new varieties of seed, Aladele, stated that:”We are making progress, it is not something you can achieve in a single year. As time goes on, we will be able to reach every nook and cranny of the country.
“But meanwhile, whatever crop that is released and registered here must have been tested in many part sof the country, that was what I said earlier that each part of the country has something to pick from the varieties of seed that have just been released.”