The Managing Director of a Kaduna based agribusiness, ECOBasic Seeds Company Limited, Brighton Karume said for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in food production, farmers are required to adopt quality foundation seed used.
Karume noted that once the nation’s seed sector is right, the myriad challenges associated with agriculture would be solved.
He noted that the ECOBasic Seed Company had the capacity to bridge the existing gap in seed production in the country and even beyond.
Specifically, the ECOBasic boss while addressing a media briefing in Kaduna on Friday, said Nigeria could double its maize production if 50 per cent of farmers across the country, adopt hybrid maize varieties.
“If 50 per cent of farmers adopt and plant hybrid varieties, this singular act can double the country’s maize yield from the current ~2 mt/ha to over 4 mt/ha thereby causing annual production to increase to about 20 mi mt,” he said.
He expressed concern that at the moment, only 10 per cent of Nigerian farmers plant hybrid varieties, a situation he maintained, had made it impossible for the country to meet the national demand in maize production.
This is just as he said that closing the national maize production and demand gap, required concerted efforts by players across the value chain.
While stressing the need to make the nation’s seed sector right, Karume noted that the firm had debuted to drive the seed sector in Nigeria and even in West Africa with the production of high quality and pure seeds.
He said further that over 90 per cent of the Early Generation Seed – breeder and foundation seed – sourced in the country were from research institutions, noting however that the institutions had over the years struggled to meet the rising demand for high-quality seed due to lack of adequate funding and support.
This, he said, has had a “huge impact on the productivity and profitability of indigenous seed companies which ultimately limits farmers’ access to high-quality seeds.”
Against this background, he said ECOBasic Seed firm was “established to ensure supply of foundation seed solutions to local seed companies with the objective to produce and supply foundation seed of the highest quality and purity for the Nigerian and West African sub-region.
“It’s a business-to-business model where ECOBasic Seed will sell foundation seed to seed companies for their certified seed production that is used by farmers.
“ECOBasic Seed Company was established by the Africa Agriculture Technology Fund, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria, to produce and supply foundation seed of the highest quality and purity to seed companies in West Africa.”
According to him, ECOBasic will focus on the production of genetically pure foundation seed so that the true potential of the hybrids is realized, transforming OPV seed maize companies to produce hybrid maize seed.
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