By NBF News

THE Chairman, Governing Board of National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Dr. James Angbazo, has said that 50 per cent of Nigeria's food problem would be sorted out if special attention is paid to the type of seeds planted by farmers in the country.

According to Angbazo, the only way food security can be guaranteed is for farmers to start from now to ensure that only viable seeds are utilised to ensure enhanced yield per hectare.

He warned that dependence on seeds with low capacity yield would not be in the best interest of the farmers even if they spend all their resources on fertiliser to enrich the soil.

The NASC chairman, who spoke to The Guardian, noted that because his agency is the regulator of seeds utilised by farmers in the country, producers of seeds in Nigeria will be identified and a general pool created for interested commercial farmers to purchase and transform their farms for the better.

The chairman noted that the greatest handicap of the agency is its newness and it will take some time for people to become enlightened about the fact that there are fake seeds in the market, which will not yield anything, as such they should refrain from buying same for their use.

'Self sufficiency can always be achieved if the right steps are taken. India is self-sufficient today because they have proper management of their viable seeds.  Fifty per cent of our agriculture problems today is from seeds.

This is why we are going to go all out to get viable seeds to help out states with special programmes aimed at increasing the food supply to Nigerians.

'Because special attention has been given to the seed variety, Jigawa State today can produce all the tomatoes needed to take care of the whole country's needs. We want to ensure that each state has a variety of seed that it specialises in, like what Jigawa has done,' Angbazo.

He warned importers of fake seeds, saying as a regulator, his agency will not allow them to import any substandard seed that would harm farmers or even Nigerians who will consume such seeds in form of grains. He said but for the advent of oil, agriculture is the most important revenue earner for the nation and NASC will make sure that it takes its pride of place both in the short and long terms.

To ensure that fake merchants do not get their way as they did in the drug sector, the NASC chairman said that his agency is working with the Nigeria Security and Defence Corp to penetrate the grains markets nationwide and fish out those who are bent on selling fake seeds to the people.

He announced that the Federal Government has given 20 per cent rebate to seed managers in the country to ensure that every farmer has access to the right type of seed.