A kaduna based seedlings company known as ECOBasic-Seed has called on farmers to adopt the use of hybrid seeds as foundation grains, saying it would accelerate the nation’s drive towards food sufficiency status.
The Managing Director, Brighton Karume who made the call disclosed that most Nigerian farmers were into Open Pollinated Varieties (OPV) which he described as counterproductive, slow and time-wasting method, adding that the country still had a long way to go if it relied on conventional seeds for production of edible food for her citizens.
The head of the seed company established with support from Bill and Melinda foundation said Nigeria as the greatest cultivator of farmlands which he estimated at seven to eight hectares needed to cross over to hybrid seeds of maize,rice and cowpea for robust and bumper harvest for internal consumption and exports.
He listed benefits of hybrids to include; pest tolerance, higher yielding, uniformity in colour and maturity among others.
The agriculture expert decried poor awareness, lack of access to farm implements, storage facilities and modern ways of cultivating the land for mass food production as some banes militating against the country’s quest for achieving self-sufficiency in food.
He reiterated the resolve of the firm to bridge the foundation seed gaps by providing sustainable solutions to challenges encountered by farmers by productive collaboration with research institutes to deliver genetic potentials.
In his submission at the demonstration site Jaji, Prof. Rabiu Adamu from Institute of Agric Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria said more than 80 percent of Nigerian farmers were on conventional seeds, describing development as sad and worrisome.
“We have less than farmers using hybrid seed which is a very low number that will take us nowhere close to achieving our objective of producing food to match our ever rising population as the largest in Africa.
“We have today enumerated to the audience here the gains and advantages of using hybrids for maize,rice, cowpea and other edible food production.
“The time is now to ensure our subsistent and commercial farmers graduate from using the open pollination varieties to hybrids which will guarantee our future and maintain our first place the biggest agro-economy nation in Africa, ” he said.
Chairman House Committee on Agric Kaduna State House of Assembly Abdullahi Bello reassured farmers of readiness of the legislature to enact laws that would ensure availability of arable and secured land for farm use.
He said members were aware of security challenges preventing large number of farmers from accessing farmlands, adding that members had already moved to make farmlands more productive.