President Muhmmadu Buhari has been urged to assent to the Agricultural Seed Bill, which is expected to regulate indiscriminate sale of adulterated seeds.
The bill, when assented to, will empower the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), to slam a fine of N1 million on any company that falters, as well as generate huge revenue to boost the country’s economy.
President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers, Prof. Simon Irtwange, who addressed journalists recently in Abuja, added that the former law was just a slap on the wrist.
He said, “the bill would bring sanity in the agriculture sector because the old bill says if you commit seed offence, you will pay N500, meaning you can continue committing the offence and pay N500.
“Under the new law, it says any seed company that brings into the market any adulterated seed or sells grain as seed will pay N1 million and this will make people to be very careful.
“We are expecting the president to sign this bill now because if he does not, it means we are going back to stage zero at 9th National Assembly.”
Irtwange added that, “we have looked into the economic implication of yam per hectare; it will cost the farmer N1.5 million and out of this money, N800,000 is for seeds.
“You can see the importance of that component into any agricultural production activities. You cannot play with the quality of what you are putting in the soil and what this does is to ensure that farmers have quality seeds to be able to plant to increase yields and revenue.’’
Also, the National Coordinator of National Agricultural Seeds Advocacy Group (NASAG), Celestial Okeke, maintained that if the bill is not signed into law, it would empower companies to exploit the system, while farmers’ harvest would be poor.
“So, we have several seed companies providing fake seed and sell to farmers and this has been affecting productivity for farmers, especially low yield, which has impacted our food security in Nigeria,” he added.