Kalu Calls for Investment in Seed Industry to Enhance Food Security
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has called for more investments in the seed industry to ensure food security in the country.
Kalu who made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while declaring open the 6th Edition of Seed Connect Africa Conference & Exhibition 2023, stated that investing in research and innovation, will empower farmers to produce more and contribute to a more food-secure and prosperous Nigeria.
The Deputy Speaker said the seed industry holds the key to unlocking sustainable solutions and ensuring food security for all.
He noted the key role the House of Representatives played in facilitating the passage of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act, saying that the legislation exemplifies the parliament’s commitment in supporting policies that drive agricultural growth and enhance food security.
Commending the National Agricultural Seed Council for their unwavering dedication to the growth and development of Nigeria’s seed industry, Kalu urged the participants to explore innovative solutions to address the challenges and opportunities in the seed industry.
He said, “I am honoured to be here today to address this esteemed gathering of experts, innovators, and stakeholders in the crucial field of seed production and agriculture. As we gather under the compelling theme of “Global Declaration of Food Emergency – The Role of Seed Industry in Africa,” I am filled with a sense of urgency and determination to amplify the significance of this event and the critical role of the seed industry in addressing the pressing issue of food security in our continent.
“Nigeria, a nation blessed with abundant agricultural potential, has made significant strides in developing its seed industry. Our country boasts four distinct seed systems: farmer-saved, public-private, public-led, and community-based. Each system plays a unique and complementary role in ensuring the availability of high-quality seeds to our farmers. The public sector, as the primary driver of variety development, accounts for a remarkable 87% of variety releases in the seed market. This commitment to research and innovation has laid the foundation for a robust seed sector in Nigeria. Simultaneously, the private sector’s growing presence, accounting for 13% of variety releases, has infused market dynamism and competitiveness into the seed industry.
“With over 157 registered seed companies, Nigeria has emerged as a regional leader in seed production and export. In 2019 alone, the country accounted for a staggering 60% of the total seeds marketed in West Africa. This impressive export volume highlights Nigeria’s capacity to contribute to regional food security efforts. The recent enactment of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) ACT 2021 stands as a landmark achievement in strengthening Nigeria’s seed industry. This groundbreaking legislation provides legal protection for plant breeders, fostering innovation and investment in seed development. The PVP Act is poised to revolutionize the seed sector, leading to increased productivity, improved seed quality, and enhanced access for farmers.
“As we confront the global food emergency, the seed industry holds the key to unlocking sustainable solutions and ensuring food security for all. By investing in research, innovation, and capacity building, we can empower our farmers to produce more, sustainably, and contribute to a more food-secure and prosperous Nigeria. Thank you for your attention and participation in this important event. May our collective efforts pave the way for a future where food security is not a distant dream but a reality for all Nigerians.”
In his goodwill message, the Chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Bello Kaoje commended the organisers for their dedication, saying that it will strengthen the spirit of collective partnership towards achieving food security.
He added that parliamentarians will continue to work in the best interest of the citizenry.