A new study by Amsterdam-based Access to Seeds Foundation has rated Nigeria’s value seeds as the leading hub in Western and Central Africa, accounting for majority of seeds production on the African continent.
In its latest Access to Seed Index 2019, the study reported that Nigeria’s valued seed has the highest quality seed variety in the region, beating others to the top position.
Ranked second was Technisem from France, which has the widest presence in the region, covering 17 countries.
Recently, the international seed rating agency also revealed that the country has around $450 million (N130billion) in terms of seed production shortfall. It said that the Nigerian government and the private sector have to intensify seed production efforts to meet the national seed demand
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, in Lagos, leader of the delegation of private sector investors on a visit to Nigeria, Ido Verhagen, Executive Director, Access to Seed Index, explained that Nigeria’s seed production capacity stood at 800,000 metric tonnes.
He added that the study showed the continent represents two per cent of the global seed production, even as the global seed business is valued at $50 billion (N17.9billion).
He said: “Nigeria-based value seeds top our rankings in new research on seed companies operating in Western and Central Africa. However, we discovered that the overall picture is one of international and African seed companies falling short in delivering quality seed and new varieties to smallholder farmers. This limits the potential to address food security, nutrition and climate resilience.”
On the seed deficit in Nigeria, Mr. Verhagen said: “The deficit in Nigeria is around $450 million or N130 billion annually in terms of seed business. This is the difference in the demand that could be met if Nigerian companies step up their seed production.
“There is a research we released couples of days ago showing that Africa represents two per cent of the global seed value chain. As you know this is just two per cent of the global population, so we have big gap in the seed sector in Nigeria and the continent. I think the global seed business is valued at $50 billion (N17.9billion). So you can see that there is a huge potential in seed business globally.”
Speaking further, he said following its meeting with the Federal Government in Abuja, last week, there is a lot to be done in the Nigerian seed value chain in terms of rectifying the seed deficit gap despite the country producing the highest seed needed in the whole of Africa.
He explained that there is growing number of seed companies active in the region, both homegrown and international, with less than half of the 23 companies researched carrying out plant breeding in Western and Central Africa.
According to him, this limits the release of new varieties adapted by the region, and explains the high number of varieties that are older than five years offered in company portfolios.