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Food Security: Regulators train licensed inspectors on cassava seed certification

Participants in the Training of Licensed Seed Inspectors to Implement Decentralised Cassava Seed Certification Using Seed Tracker, in South West Nigeria, in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital      Photo: NAN

*The National Agricultural Seeds Council begins training of Licensed Seed Inspectors to enforce use of quality cassava seed while integrating the newly-licensed cassava growers and processors to register their cassava seed field on the seed tracker for quality assurance and food security

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of its effort at enhancing food security in Nigeria, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) has commenced training of Licensed Seed Inspectors (LSI) on enforcement of the use of quality cassava seed.

ConsumerConnect learnt Dr. Ishiak Khalid, a Director at NASC, stated this at the opening of a two-day training programme Thursday, October 26, 2023, in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Cassava seed system in Nigeria       Photo: Vanguard

The Council organised the training session in collaboration with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), agency report said.

The workshop had its theme as: “Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed (BASICS-ll) for Cassava Licensed Seed Inspectors.

Khalid, represented at the training by Dr. Adekunle Adeseko, South-West Regional Coordinator, NASC, said that the Council had set the pace in cassava seed certification in West Africa.

He also explained that it had been improving its efficiency through the adoption of seed tracker in digital certification, especially in cassava.

Dr. Khalid, however, charged the LSIs to be up and doing in ensuring compliance with seed quality.

According to him, the Council had kept abreast of the activities of informal seed entrepreneurs.

Challenges of cassava certification in South-West region

In respect of challenges confronting cassava certification in the South-West region of Nigeria and the way forward, the NASC Director decried low patronage on seed tracker by new seed entrepreneurs.

He as well noted: “We know that in the South, NASC is in the process of integrating the newly-licensed cassava growers and processors, as they are yet to fully grasp the need to register their cassava seed field on the seed tracker for quality assurance.

“Another challenge is the sourcing of cassava seed from informal seed sector.”

Awareness creation is a way out of the challenges, but the Council has paucity of funds to upscale the level of awareness on the need to propagate cassava, using seeds instead of stem from old plants meant for root production, stated he.

Khalid, therefore, commended the collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he said had been supporting the realisation of the Council’s objectives.

Dr. Bankole Osho-Lagunju, Desk Officer Basics-ll at NASC, in his contribution identified decentralisation of seed quality assurance as a new paradigm that NASC was looking at due to shortage of manpower for the number of seed producers in the country.

Osho-Lagunju was quoted to have said: “Having trained personnel like this will complement the NASC officers, bring quality assurance closer to the people, make it more responsive and create income for those engaged.”

In his goodwill message, Dr Shuaeeb Oyewole, Zonal Coordinator, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Ibadan zonal office, stressed the need for planting high yield seeds for improved productivity.

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