By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A new seed entity (ECOBasic Seed Company) capable of bridging the existing gap in early generation seeds production in Nigeria has debuted with promises to drive the seed sector in the sub-region with the production of high quality and pure seeds.
Mr. Brighton Karume, Managing Director, ECOBasic Seed Company said today (March 11) at a press conference in Kaduna said that currently, over 90 per cent of the Early Generation Seed (EGS) – breeder and foundation seed – sourced in Nigeria are from research institutions.
“However, these research institutions struggle to meet the rising demand for high-quality foundation seed from seed companies due to inadequate financial and technical support.
This has a huge impact on the productivity and profitability of indigenous seed companies which ultimately limits farmers’ access to high-quality seeds,” Mr Karume said.
The Managing Director said that closing the national maize production and demand gap requires concerted efforts by players across the value chain.
“At the core of this effort is the need to accelerate awareness and widespread use of improved, disease-resistant hybrid maize seed varieties that can resist striga and fall armyworm infestation thereby boosting yield. It all starts with the right seed.”
Karum said that Nigeria can double its maize production and achieve self-sufficiency if 50 per cent of maize farmers across the country adopt hybrid maize varieties.
According to him, only 10 per cent of Nigerian farmers plant hybrid varieties, a situation that had made it impossible for the country to meet the national demand.
“IF 50 per cent of farmers adopt and plant hybrid varieties, this singular act can double the country’s maize yield from the current ~2 mt/ha to over 4 mt/ha thereby causing annual production to increase to about 20 mi mt.”
He said ECOBasic Seed Company was established to ensure supply of foundation seed solutions to local seed companies with the objective to produce and supply foundation seed of the highest quality and purity for the Nigerian and West African sub region.
It’s a business-to-business model where ECOBasic Seed will sell foundation seed to seed companies for their certified seed production that is used by farmers.
He said ECOBasic will focus on production of genetically pure foundation seed so that the true potential of the hybrids is realized, transform OPV seed maize companies to produce hybrid maize seed.
ECOBasic Seed Company was established by the Africa Agriculture Technology Fund (AATF), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) to produce and supply foundation seed of the highest quality and purity to seed companies in West Africa.