By G9ija

The Director – General, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) Dr Phillip Ojo, on Friday in Abuja, urged the council workers to ensure cohesive working relationship that would stimulate increased productivity.

Ojo made the appeal at the award presentation to mark the maiden staff week organised by the Nigerian Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees (NUAAE), NASC branch.

While commending leaders of the union for the event, he said the initiative demonstrated the willingness of the staff to work together towards achieving more goals for the council.

According to Ojo, in the last few years, NASC has made giant strides and recorded great progress in the quest to make the industry better.

“These include but not limited to, the successful review of the National Agricultural Seeds Council Act.

“Today, we have the NASC Act 2019, the introduction of a plant variety protection (PVP Act 2021) law in Nigeria, and the setting up of a molecular facility in line with international best practice.

“Today, we have a molecular laboratory that can compete with those anywhere in the world. We have also implemented the turn-key electronic seed authentication system, named SeedCodex.

“There is also the development of plant descriptors for select varieties of maize, rice, and soybean as well as the introduction of a yam seed system.

“The council has also migrated from manual to electronic seed certification system with the aid of the ‘National Seed Tracker’ and has introduced the third-party seed certification scheme.

“With our collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, we have been able to scale up seed market surveillance and enforcement of standards.

“Also, we have developed the NASC Electronic Survey Tool (NEST).

“This is a data capturing and analytical tool hosted on Google play store and accessed by any android device which is deployed for data generation, analysis, and knowledge sharing.

“All these would not have happened without your support and dedication to work,’’ the Director-General explained.

Earlier, the Chairman of NUAAE, Mr Akan Uteh, pledged the union’s support to the management of the council towards achieving its mandate.

Uteh solicited the management’s support for the establishment of a clinic and a canteen within the council.

The National Agricultural Seeds Council Act 2019 established NASC to promote and stimulate the development of a dependable seed industry.

The council is also to protect farmers from the sale of poor-quality seeds; and facilitate the production and marketing of high quality seeds in Nigeria.

The Act provides legal backing for official testing, certification, sale, importation and use of seeds by the council.