ECOWAS Commission urges government to address red tapes
The Head of Agriculture, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Ernest Aubee, has canvassed political solutions to resolve factors affecting seed trade across the region.
He highlighted some of the factors to include long delays of trucks containing seeds at the borders, multiple charges and payments, non-implementation of the ECOWAS treaty on free movement of persons, goods and services and other instrument such as the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the ECOWAS regional seeds regulations.
While Nigeria provides 50 per cent of the seeds required in the sub-region, exporters are finding it difficult to move goods across borders, despite the ECOWAS protocol that promotes legitimate trade in West Africa.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) has been working together with governments, development and research actors to implement a policy that would allow for the free flow of seeds across West Africa.
But the Head of Agriculture ECOWAS commission, while speaking to journalists in Abuja, noted that the challenges affecting seed trade in Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states in the movement of seed could be discussed at the political and diplomatic levels with a view to addressing them.
He explained that the political solution means the implementation of the relevant ECOWAS protocols by the member-states as they are signatories to the protocols.
According to him, having access to a regional seed market with fewer barriers to seed trade contributes to the growth of seed enterprises.
He stated that ECOWAS is among the inter-governmental bodies with interest in the free flow of seeds.