Seeds without CODEX are substandard, NASC warns farmers
Says dealers of adulterated seeds risk jail terms
As the preparation for rain-fed and irrigation cultivation of crops begin in January and February, farmers have been alerted to avoid buying seeds and seedlings without CODEX, a special number to be texted to a dedicated line to confirm authenticity.
This was disclosed by the Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Coincil (NASC), Dr Philip Olusegun Ojo, during the 2022 quality seed enlightenment programme to kick-start crop production in the South-West zone in Ibadan, last week.
Dr Ojo said the NASC was making efforts to ensure that only the seeds sanctioned as good quality reach the accredited suppliers who have met all the quality standards set by the Seed Act so that farmers could have access to them.
He said: “If farmers have unhindered access to these type of seeds, we are sure that the agricultural productivity for 2022 will double that of the year 2021 in Nigeria.
“This is why I have personally decided to join our sister organization, the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), the host of the secretariat of the National Crop Varieties and Livestock Breeds Registration and Release Committee and other stakeholders in Ibadan to witness the release of a number of new varieties of crops, which, very soon, will be made available to farmers as vehicles to transform the nation’s agricultural sector and mitigate the diverse challenges of climate change and even COVID-19.”
He added that improved varieties of seeds that could boost food security are not readily in the hands of farmers because of the activities of unscrupulous elements who bypass the NASC and the Seed Law to trade and market adulterated and uncertified seeds farmers.
He described their activities as acts of economic and national sabotage, saying NASC had, in the last three years, deployed technology and put in place mechanisms to step up surveillance and enforcement activities as entrenched in the NASC Act 21 of 2019, with a view to ensuring that only the best seeds are supplied to farmers.
“We enjoin all farmers in the South West and Nigeria to make sure that they purchase seeds that carry the tags of NASC called the SEEDCODEX, which is the seal of quality authentication that NASC has deployed to sanitize the markets and rid them of fake and adulterated seeds,” he said.
The director-general explained that only reputable companies in accordance to the NASC Act could gain access to the SEEDCODEX, and the tag is the output of the NASC electronic seed verification and authentication system that enhances the efficiency of seed certification and quality assurance scheme.
“Please, let our farmers know that any certified seed offered for sale buy anyone that does not carry this authentication tag with code affixed on them for farmers to scratch (just like the case with pharmaceuticals) and send to a dedicated number for instant verification of the authenticity of the seeds must not be purchased by them,” he warned.
He led the Seed Inspectorate Department of the South-West Regional Office on raids of unauthorized seeds outlets, and also commended outlets dealing in only approved seeds with NASC Codex.
South-West Regional Director, Mr Kunle Adeseko, said the inspectorate did go on routine raids to prevent circulation of fake seeds.