Seed Scientists in Nigeria canvass for the commercialisation of GM seeds in Nigeria

The Association of Seed Scientists of Nigeria called for speedy commercialization of GM seeds to increase agricultural productivity and promote sustainable development.

The seed scientists made this call during their fourth Annual Conference at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) from the 24th to 28th June 2018.

Group Photograph of the Conference participants

Based on the theme “Enhancing Nigeria Agricultural Potentials through quality seeds”, the conference had over 200 participants. Some of them included  the Vice Chancellor FUTA, Prof. Joseph Adeola;  Representative  of Governor of Ondo State, Akin Olotu; the President of ASSN, Prof. Dupe Akintobi;  Dean of FUTA, Prof. Timothy Amos;  Representative of DG National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC); Representative of OFAB Nigeria, Miss Modesta Abugu and Miss Eniola Adewoyin; other seed scientists, NGOs and farmers; stakeholders from various universities and postgraduate students of plant breeding and seed technology, FUTA. 

According to the ASSN President, Prof. Dupe Akintobi, Seed is considered the gem of every plant life  and a major agricultural requirement that determines productivity. In modern agriculture, the importance of good quality seeds cannot be overemphasized as it determines the benchmark or upper limit of the effectiveness of other agricultural inputs. The use of quality seeds is now paramount if Nigeria wants to feed her growing population.

(l-r) The President of the Association of seed scientists of Nigeria, Prof. Dupe AKintobi with the OFAB Nigeria Representative, Miss Modesta Abugu

The Director-General National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo who was represented by a Director at the Council, delivered the keynote address at the event where he reiterated the need for increased adoption of seeds with enhanced genetic make up to improve productivity for farmers.

While the representative of the OFAB Nigeria Coordinator, Miss Modesta Abugu during her presentation on GMO seeds: Issues and future gains, explained that despite some arguments against the use of GMOs, the tool has been very beneficial for many farmers all over the world which is why Nigeria should not be left behind in its adoption. She mentioned the many benefits of GM crops to include resistance to insect, pest, disease, weeds, tolerance to drought and improved nutrition and also emphasized that GM technology, although not a silver bullet, is a very important tool for agricultural revitalization and food security in Nigeria.

Miss Modesta Abugu, speaking at the Event

The participants recommended that Nigerian farmers should be given access to these GM seeds as soon as possible. They urged the Federal Government to speed up commercialization and called for increased sensitization on the potentials of the technology in enhancing seed quality in Nigeria.