Growing an Effective Seed Management System: A Case Study of Nigeria
Oyekale, K. O.

Use of improved seed materials has been a major contributor to increased agricultural production and food security in Nigeria and world over. Improved quality seed is not only the cheapest and basic potential of increasing yield but also fundamental in raising the efficiency of other inputs like fertilizers, agro-chemicals and agro-machinery. Greater percentage of improvement in agricultural production has come from the use of improved seed. In essence, no agricultural practices, i.e. fertilization, irrigation etc can improve crop production beyond the limit set by seed. Seed is a means of technology transfer to farmers, who have certain expectations from new crop varieties as promised by the breeders. In ensuring this, seeds of new varieties must be made available to the farmers in adequate quantity and quality and at affordable prices. The Nigerian seed industry however has not fully developed the capacity to perform this role very well: the current national seed uptake is less than 10%, while the regulatory and enforcement capacity in the industry has been weak. The Nigerian agricultural seed sector has evolved over the last 30 years in terms of seed science and commercial seed production capabilities. However, the sector is still under-performing in terms of meeting the agricultural seed needs of the country. The development and performance of the seed sector is constrained by many factors which include weak technical capacity, poor market mechanisms, inefficient enforcement of seed law, information asymmetry, insufficient capital investment and low utilization of innovations. This study was designed to identify some of the weak links in seed development programme(s) of Nigeria, as well as the recent successful efforts geared towards encouraging private initiatives in a bid to outline basic and technical steps required to grow and maintain an effective seed system in the country or anywhere in the world.

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