Stakeholders want 50% levies on agric products channelled to seed sector
To boost budgetary allocation to the seed sub-sector, stakeholders have urged the federal government to channel 50 per cent of levies collected by the Nigerian Custom Service on imported agricultural product to the development of seed industry.
They bemoaned government’s paltry allocation to the seed segment, despite its importance to agricultural development in the country, noting that the allocation of the 50 per cent of levies collected to sector would help bridge the funding gap.
A board member of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Ibrahim Musa, while speaking during the Review and Validation Meeting of NASC’s strategic operational plan for the Nigerian seed industry, lamented that Customs usually collect development levies on imported agricultural products, but little or noting is given to the seed sector.
The former Comptroller-General of Custom noted that in 2018, customs generated N38 billion from levies on rice; N10.9 billion, sugar; N84 billion, wheat grain; and another N16.4 million from levies on cigarettes.
Ibrahim, said with the vast land and human resources in the country, if a certain percentage of the fund is channeled to the seed industry, there won’t be need to import some of these products.
Asserting that no meaningful development can take place in any of the value chain without increased access to improved seeds by the farmers, he said: “I want to propose that 50 per cent of the levies on imported agricultural product be channeled to the development of seed industry and the research institute to the bridge the funding gap in the critical sub-sector.”
NASC Director-General, Dr. Philip Ojo, pointed out that five- year strategic plan was designed in consonance with the Nigerian Agricultural Promotion Policy to guide the agency’s activities for the next five year, adding that all the stakeholders in the value chain is being carried along in implementation of the plan.
He disclosed that in the implementation of the five-year plan, NASC would work closely with the private sector, and also leverage on the use of technology to improve seed certification, as they are going from visual certification to diagnostic certification.
He said they have developed a molecular facility in their headquarters to diagnose challenges in the sector and also boost the capacity of their staff.
The Country Director of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Kehinde Makinde, pointed out that the strategic operational plan for the Nigerian seed industry is important to provide what is needed to ensure that programmes are tailored towards enhancing the sustainability.
He maintained that the validation of the strategic plans emphasises the commitment of the Federal Government to not only increase productivity, but also raise income and better welfare for the rural households.
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