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May 22, 2024
Agribusiness Featured

Nigeria close to food sufficiency -Agric Minister

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Muhammed Mahmood Abubakar has said Nigeria is on its way to meeting its food sufficiency goal.

He spoke while commissioning  the first in Nigeria Ultra-Modern Fully-Automated Seed Processing Line acquired by Value Seeds Company, in Kaduna State.

The Minister who commissioned the facility through the Director-General National Agricultural Seed Council, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, who was represented by the North-West Regional Director of the Council, Mr Ubandoma Hudu Mohammed, said access to improved seeds is key to addressing food insecurity.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s goal of diversifying the economy into agriculture will receive a massive  boost if all seed companies in the country follow the footsteps of Value Seeds, as seed is a key driver to agriculture,” he said.

“Our dream is to see an industry that will compete competitively with the global trend. We want to have seed companies with standard machine that will clean and remove all dust, stones and the mix from coloured and uncoloured seeds do that, the farmers will get value for their money.”

“The potential in agriculture relies heavily on the seeds, because if you plant a very good seed, you are already sure of 50 per cent good harvest, the remaining 50 per cent relies on your agronomy practices. So, this is a welcome development and it is a milestone in the history of Nigeria seed industry.

“We are therefore calling on all the rest seed companies to follow the steps of Value Seeds. One of the key challenges that this machine is going to address is seed conditioning, which is very key. By law, you cannot sell seed until it is conditioned and part of this conditioning is that, let the farmers get value for their money. With it, farmers will no longer be shortchanged. Before now, when farmers buy 20kg of seed, they end up getting 18kg because the rest 2kg will be dust. So, this machine is going to address that. And it has the capacity to process  10 metric tones per hour.”

“This administration is promoting agriculture through its economic diversification and the key driver to agriculture is good seed, if you don’t have good seed, no matter the technology you deploy, you will not get the desired result. So, this investment by Value Seed will help boosting our food production and address food insecurity.”

President of Value Seeds Limited, Sir George Zangir said, Value Seeds Limited as the first Nigerian seed company to acquire the sophisticated condition line in the country, had increased staff, employed more and better technology in seed production and warehousing, but its processing facility was overwhelmed as they had to work overnight and relentlessly to meet demands and deadlines.

“The new processing line will fully automate our seed processing business and we will be able to process huge amount of seeds in good time. This will afford us the opportunity to meet demands of both smallholder and commercial farmers and also accelerate the rate of indigenous seed production, thus, creating market for indigenous seeds, creating jobs and right technology in the agriculture value chain.”

“The machinery parts started coming in around March 2021 but COVID-19 still prevented the entry of installation engineers into Nigeria. Several of them were disapproved at the point of immigration process. We thank Petkus for giving us two wonderful engineers, Wallstein Gildo, who handled the assemblage and mechanical aspect and Patrick Herold, who was in charge of the electrical installation and automation,” he said.

Deputy Director Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Y. A Sani said on the occasion that only about five per cent of the Nigerian smallholder farmers have access to improved seeds.

He called on other seed companies in the country to emulate Value Seeds by not only acquiring the new technology, but by bringing the seeds to the doorstep of the smallholder farmers, as they contribute the largest percentage of the local food production.

Located on Zaria-Kano highway, Value Seeds Limited, is a field and garden crops production and distribution Company incorporated in 2009 and a leading agricultural value-chain solution provider, which aims to reach 10 million smallholder farmers with improved and quality seeds by 2035.

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