The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) says it will use third-party seed certifying agents, as part of its efforts to ensure effective regulation of the industry.
The Director-General of NASC, Dr Phillip Ojo, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a three-day capacity building workshop organised for 75 seed certification officers on electronic seed authentication and certification.
Ojo, who said that the adoption of digital seed authentication would offer farmers easy access to seed certification, noted that farmers would also have easy access to improved and disease-free seeds.
He said that the training was in response to the Agricultural Seeds Act 2019, which empowered the council to outsource seed certification to further entrench efficiency in the seed certification process in the country.
According to him, the Seeds Act has introduced a lot of innovations in the system, including electronic certification and the use of third-party certifiers.
Ojo said: “If you look at what is happening today, the number of our staff has actually reduced; also, the resources available to us is actually decreasing and the need to ensure that we cover as much ground as possible is very important.
“Many enterprises are coming on board, while acres and hectares to certify have also increased.
“Therefore, we can no longer do it alone and that is exactly why government, in its wisdom, enacted that law, in line with global best practices, allowing third-party certifiers into the process.
“Certification used to be virtual but we are now going diagnostic. Because of dearth of staff and limited resources, we are outsourcing certification to a third party and it is a way to create employment for the youth and others.
“Instead of seed enterprises going to our regional office or the headquarters to register, they can go to the seed tracker platform and register, and it is actually a platform for a lot of interactions along the value chain.
“Nigerian farmers and all the stakeholders are expected to interact on that platform and it makes the whole process easier,’’ he added.