Ibadan — The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), a government agency vested with the responsibility of overseeing the development and regulation of the nation's seed industry, has warned farmers all over the country to beware of adulterated seedlings circulating in the country.
As part of efforts to arrest this development, the council has deployed its officials to the field on a nationwide sensitization exercise to create mass awareness among seed dealers and the local farmers on the dangers inherent in the supply and utilization of adulterated seeds.
Mr Abraham Adebayo Agboola, NASC team leader on sensitatisation tour of Ibadan, said the council has the mandate to monitor and supervise rice, maize, soyabeans, okro, pepper. cowpea, tomatoes, sorghum, millet, cassava, yam, groundnut seedlings in the country.
Agboola who started the surveillance activities of the South West zone of the country comprising Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Kwara States in Ibadan expressed hope that the on-going sensitization exercise would assist tremendously in increasing the yield of Nigerian farmers.
"The sensitaisation will give farmers the assurance that whatever they are buying for plantation is genuine and of top quality. When a farmer plants good seeds with good management, he is sure of coming up with bumper harvest just as the eco-system will also not be polluted," he added.
He noted that the cultivation of low yielding or adulterated seeds would result in poor harvests, a situation that would ultimately lead to low income and persistent poverty of the affected farmer.
While urging farmers in the South West zone to cue into the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, Mr. Agboola advised them to always look for the council's Seal of Quality whenever they are acquiring seeds for plantation from seed dealers.
"By that Seal of Quality of the Council that is on any certified package, Nigerian farmers will be saved the agony of patronizing touts or emergency seed dealers who just package seeds in nylon and display to sell to unwary patrons," he said.
Agboola said that the team would take the campaign to all parts of the South West zone.
He said that "as a council, we will not relent in educating farmers until the right thing is done."