Nigeria loses over N100 million to tomatoes, pepper, other seeds abroad -Prof. Ajayi

IBADAN-THE first Professor of Seeds and Technology in Nigeria, Professor Sola Ajayi on Wednesday disclosed that Nigeria is losing annually over N100 million to production of Tomatoes, Pepper, Cabbage, Carrot, Cucumbers and other vegetable seeds.

He said Nigeria has a very poor and minimal proportion of seeds being produced locally, except for local vegetable crops.

Prof. Ajay, while speaking at a training organised for All Quality Control Officers of Seed Companies on New Method to Control Seed Production, organized by Nigeria Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, in Ibadan, said government has done well in the last ten to fifteen years by capacitating the activities of National Agricultural Council.

He said: “Quality is the determinant of what we get from the seeds and that is why we need to train our people. Seed is a seed because we expected it to yield a crop that is productive. It is the productivity of the seed that we would harvest and the quality is what determines the output of the seed.

“If the quality of the seed is not good at the very beginning, it cannot yield a good fruit. By my conservative estimate, I’ll say Nigeria is losing over N100million annually to importation of feeds. This is because all the tomatoes seeds we plant are being imported from Italy. We have a very poor minimal proportions being produced locally except for crops like vegetables that are local.

“A lot of the vegetables and other farm produce that we are consuming in large quantities are being imported from Italy. We only use Farmers save seed and recycle seed for local once. But those once that have commercial importance like tomatoes, pepper and other fruit like cucumbers, cabbage, and carrot are imported.

“Government needs to provide enabling environment for thriving of seeds business. Though Government has done well in the last 10 to 15 years by capacitating National Agricultural Council to be able to regulate that sector, but it goes beyond that.”

Earlier, the Director-General of the National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Dr. Phillip Olusegun-Ojo warned members to avoid complacency in their operations, urging them to adopt best practice in the discharge of their duties.

The DG who was represented at the training by Dr. Ishiak Khalid, the Director of Seed Certification and Quality Control of the council said: “We would continue to do the needful until we fully transform our seed certification and quality control system from the current manual process to a digital and electronic seed certification system.”