…introduces security certification tags
By Adelola Amihere
Producers and peddlers of fake seeds in the country will henceforth face strict penalties for any violation in the new seed Act 2019 recently signed into law by President Muhammau Buhari.
The new seed Act replaces the National Agricultural Seeds Acts, Cap N5,laws of Nigeria 2004 which hitherto were very mild and not as strong to deter criminals from engaging in acts that are contrary to the provisions of the seed law.
The news of new seed law 2019 was made known by the Director General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, at a press conference held at the national headquarters of the Council at Sheda in Abuja.
According to Ojo , the law governing the country’s seed industry was enacted to ensure farmers get the best of seeds for a bumper harvest that would help the economy and also to create wealth for themselves as agribusiness people, hence the stringent measures that would curtail and eradicate the menace of fake and adulterated seeds that have ruined the finances of farmers over the years.
He said, “The story is no longer the same as henceforth , anyone who contravenes the provisions of the seed law as a first offender will be sentenced to jail for a period of one year or pay a fine of one Million Naira or both subject to the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction.
“A repeated offender will be liable to imprisonment for two years or pay a fine of two million naira or both after which the licences of the unrepentant offenders will be withdrawn or such offenders are suspended form operating as a seed enterprise.
He further warned those involved in illegal seed business who are defrauding the government and farmers by not being accredited by NASC are doing that at their own peril .
“The NASC therefore wishes to sound loudly a note of warning to anyone or agency who have form the habit of engaging in any form of seed business without recourse to the Seed Act to desist from such henceforth.
Meanwhile, in protecting quality seeds from being adulterated or faked by criminals in the industry, the Council has introduced security certification tags to sanitise the seed space in the country with this innovation under the new seed act, which is an initiative launched earlier this with support from the Alliance for s Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, under the umbrella of the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa, PIATA, with the aim of traceability to the council for first-hand information on the authenticity of the seeds farmers purchase from any vendor.
The NASC boss said, “The tags will portion that could be scratched with serialized electronic codes which the farmer will be able through SMS to send a dedicated NASC number in our office here from where he will receive immediately information on the genuineness of the seed he is purchasing. Seed producers on their won part will be rest assured that their product can no longer be counterfeited as the NASC tags issued to them cannot be faked by unscrupulous elements.”