Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan
The Federal Government has said that the country loses more than N2bn annually to the activities of fake seed producers in the agricultural sector, warning that henceforth, perpetrators of the crime, who are found guilty, will face a minimum of five years in jail.
During a tour of Ibadan seed markets, the Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Council, Philip Ojo, who was represented by the council’s Director of Seeds Inspectorate, Mr. Adebayo Agboola, warned that the Federal Government would go all out on a raid to clean the agricultural sector of unprofessional and unhealthy practices in a bid to aid its development.
The NASC boss explained that unlicensed seed dealers had saturated the agricultural sector, denying the nation, farmers and genuine dealers huge incomes yearly.
He said, “If you are found guilty, you face a prison sentence of five years or fines ranging from N650,000 to N1m. The council wants to ensure that all these sets of people are totally eradicated so that the genuine seed dealers will have their way in the market and farmers will get quality seeds to boost their yield.
“We have confiscated fake seeds worth N1.5m in the last two months. It is important to note that the fake seeds are injurious to the farmers and their workers. The chemicals they are using to preserve the seeds are injurious to farmers and their labourers, who are working in the farms. They affect the total annual production of our farm produce.
“We are trying to diversify to agriculture. If we are targeting to produce 300,00 tonnes of maize in 2019 and farmers are being given poor quality seeds, the target will reduce to 10,000 tonnes.”
Ojo said the criteria for getting the licence to operate as a government registered seed dealer were not difficult, adding that the certification could be done in three months.
“We make the process so easy and smooth in the seed industry. The processes involved only take between two to three months to complete. Interested dealers only need to register their companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission and send application letters to the director-general of the NASC,” he added.
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