Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The Federal Government is intensifying gains so far recorded in the agricultural sector, as it targets greater outputs in the annual turnover of farm produce in the country.
To this end, government recently commenced raiding of fake seeds’ markets across the country, in an unprecedented manner targeted at making sure farmers reap bountifully, thus making farming more attractive to the huge population of unemployed Nigerian youths.
The Director General of the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Philip Olusegun Ojo, who led the team to some markets in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, said the council began the operation from the North West geo-political zone and was now in the South West zone, to ensure that farmers are getting quality seeds for planting.
Ojo, who was represented by the Director, Seeds Inspectorate, Mr. Adebayo Agboola said Nigeria was losing over N2 billion to fake seeds annually, and that the federal government has decided to bring the perpetrators to book.
According to him, the council had confiscated fake seeds worth N1.5 million in the last two months, adding that the fake seeds are injurious to the farmers and their workers.
The areas visited by the team are: Iyana church, Monatan, Mokola, Ogunpa, Iwo Road, Moniya, which are all in Ibadan, the state capital.
Agboola said the team was expected to tour Oyo state and other south-west states until the people behind the illegal business realise its implications and either stop such practice or face prosecution and possible jail terms.
“The chemicals they are using to preserve the seeds are injurious to farmers and their labourers who are working in the farm. It affects total annual production of our farm produce. That is the reason the Federal Government is always frowning on the issue of fake seeds in circulation.”