‘Inadequate High Quality SeedsMost Critical Challenge Facing Farmers’

The permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sonny Echono, has lamented that the most critical problems facing farmers in rural communities in Nigeria is inadequate high quality seeds.“As a result farmers are left with no option than to obtain seeds from the previous season’s harvest or purchase grains from the market for use and these in most cases result in low yield and make them even poorer,” he said.Echono, represented by the director of Agriculture in the ministry, Dr Damilola Aniyeaju, stated this in his keynote address at a stakeholders’ workshop on Community-based Seed Programme (CBSP) organised by the NationalAgriculture Seeds Council (NASC) held in Abuja, yesterday.He noted that the situation was brought about by a lack ofawareness of availability of performing crop varieties thatare high yielding, disease- and drought-tolerant as well as a poor distribution network by seed companies and agro dealers in rural communities that deny farmers access to good quality seeds.Echono said that “it was in recognition of the critical role of seeds as important inputs for increasing agricultural production and as necessary items which hold the keys toachieving food security and economic empowerment, thatthe ministry embarked on the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES).20151113234307

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