Magnus Eze and Okwe Obi, Abuja
As farmers gear up for the new farming season, the Federal Government on Wednesday, warned it would slam a two-year jail term on anyone caught selling fake agro seeds.
While reading the riot act, in Abuja, government said dealers on illegal seeds; and those selling with forged labels or unauthorised prices, could also be fined if not imprisoned.
Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo, who gave the warning in Abuja, said two defaulters were already cooling off in prison.
Ojo assured farmers of technical support as he provided contact for feedback in case they encounter any anomalies in the use of seeds bought from accredited dealers.
He further cautioned that nobody was allowed to do anything related to production, distribution or marketing of seeds without the approval of the agency, adding that a list of all accredited seeds and input dealers will soon be published from where farmers can buy quality seeds.
“Let me emphasise that no one, whether a government agency, private, non-governmental, donor or individual, is permitted to do any form of activity or business relating to seed without the notification of the NASC,” he stated.
Ojo also disclosed that the agency had almost concluded the development of model seed/inputs markets with a pilot within its headquarters; where farmers nationwide can get quality input near their areas of operation.
For the avoidance of doubt, the NASC boss, listed what farmers should look out for before purchasing seeds.
“Ensure that the bag of seeds has a blue tag of the National Agricultural Seed Council.
“The tag should bear the date the seed was tested by NASC. The lot number on the label shows the month and year the seed was produced and the name of the producer. The label should further indicate the germination capacity and purity of the seed which is normally above 90 per cent”, he advised.