Seed industries want increased access to financing
The Seed Entrepreneur Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) has called on the Federal Government to increase financing for seed industries in the country to boost production and meet local demands.
Mr Richard Olafare, the President of SEEDAN, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday, at a training and workshop on: “Ethics and Financial Standards for Seed Producers: Panacea to Sustainable Quality Seed Production’’.
According to him, the importance of the seed industries cannot be overemphasised as the industries have contributed massively to the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
Olafare added that if the industry, in spite of being private driven, did not have access to financing to do business, the agricultural sector would not be able to achieve its set goal of achieving self -sufficiency in all the crops.
He called on the government for more commitment in its policies aimed at increasing funding and creating an enabling environment for business to strive.
“ Finance has been our major challenge; we are going all out to see how we can have access to seed funding either from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), private sector or foreign interventions.
“In our little effort to address the issue of financing in the sub-sector, we have approached the CBN to come under the umbrella of SEEDAN to provide technical advice and support.
“We want to also ensure there is a level of credibility and integrity among our members and make sure they are working within the norms of the seed council,’’ he said.
He also called for the strengthening of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to serve the mandate behind its establishment.
Dr Philip Ojo, the Director General, the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), said that the council had been working with SEEDAN on reforms that would accelerate investment and institutional efficiency in the sector.
Ojo said that the NASC Seed Bill (as amended) had been passed by both house and just waiting for the president’s assent.
“The importance of some of the key reforms in the proposed amendment is enormous and has huge implication for the development of the industry.
“Some of the key reforms include modification of penalty for infringement.
“We believe making the penalty more stringent for the unscrupulous dealers selling adulterated seeds to farmers will serve as deterrent and help protect the investment of genuine investors in the industry.’’
He commended the council’s support at all times to ensure that farmers accessed improved seeds timely, adding that the council would not hesitate to delist any seed council found supplying fake seeds to farmers.
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