The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has said that Quality seed is the panacea for food and nutrition security, stating that the growth of the Agricultural sector would be hampered without a proper structured seed system to support the industry. He stated that food and nutrition is hinged on seed security  that would depend on solid seed systems to achieve sustainable agricultural revolution in the country.
 The Minister made this disclosure during the 4th Edition of SEEDCONNECT  Africa 2021 Conference and Exhibition with the theme ‘’ Partnership for a Resilient and Robust seed industry in Nigeria’’, held at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Center, Abuja on Monday 29th November, 2021.
Dr. Abubakar stated that ‘’ we need to join forces together to build strong and sustainable seed delivery system. From research programmes to variety release, commercial seed multiplication, seed quality assurance, seed haulage logistics, and seed utilization.
He stated that to fast-track development of Agricultural value chains, improve the efficiency of delivery of seeds, other agri inputs and enhance productivity, “we have launched the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket (NAGS&AP) Implementation and Technical working committee’’.
The Minister emphasized that ‘’their mandate is to see to the smooth implementation of input delivery and growth enhancement initiative, for the benefit of farmers across Nigeria. The seed component is one that will be closely monitored’’.
Abubakar stated that Mr President has shown commitment towards the Nigeria Agricultural Seed Sector. “In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the National Agricultural Seeds Act. In 2021, he has accented to the Plant Variety protection bill’’.
He added that ‘’ the bill would among other things, make available crop varieties of superior genetics to Nigerian farmers, while complementarily increasing foreign direct investments (FDIs), making the Nigerian Seed Industry a multi-million dollar industry’’.
He informed that ‘’ the ministry  is implementing these policies by promoting research applications, reviving extension services, easing input access, strengthening regulatory frameworks, facilitating affordable credits, increasing commodity output, enhancing processing capacity, broadening market access and expanding revenue earnings’’.
He further said that ‘’ the seed value chain is wide and very profitable. For instance, standalone companies dedicated to seed transport with specialized trucks to deliver seeds within and outside our shores without the integrity of the seeds getting compromised.
According to him, ‘’we can have seed testing companies, seed outgrower companies, equipment hiring companies, etc. All these provide avenue for components to function at their possible best, while allowing for cross-cutting collaboration for a strong seed system’’.
The minister added that ‘’the Ministry is rolling out another series of developmental schemes to improve the capacities of the poultry, livestock, dairy and fishery sectors for an inclusive agricultural transformation’’.
He urged the forum ‘’to discuss practicable and actionable programs on key Priorities for access , availability of quality seeds, inter agency coordination, synergy, issues around plant variety protection, seed business development, other pertinent issues to actually building a resilient and robust seed industry in Nigeria’’.
 In his welcome remarks, the Director–General, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo stated  that  ‘’the importance of SEEDCONNECT Africa cannot be overemphasized as it brings together Seed Industry Stakeholders from all parts of the World to discuss and deliberate on issues and topics of mutual benefit to the Seed System’’.
Dr. Ojo added that  ‘’the NASC is in collaboration with various partners to ensure a sustainable and robust seed system is created in Nigeria and beyond, capable of withstanding shocks such as those brought in by the novel Covid-19 pandemic’’.
The Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institutions, Hon. Munir Dan Agundi and other Stakeholders were part of the Plenary session; Building a Robust Seed industry for a food secure Nigeria: Key Priorities for access and availability, chaired by the Prof. Sola Ajayi, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Technical), University of Ibadan, Oyo State 
In a separate event at the Ministry, the Honourable Minister received in audience the High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Nigeria, His Excellency, Major General (Rtd), Muhammad Tayyab Azam, who was in the ministry to discuss a review of a 2014 bilateral cooperation and collaboration agreement signed with the ministry in respect of agro based economy and research to which the minister assured His Excellency, would be revived and adopted in the interest of the two nations to achieve food security and economic growth.    
 In a meeting between Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN) and the ministry, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, stated that the ministry would continue to collaborate and strengthen ties with FAO in areas of technical support  and capacity building towards achieving food and nutrition security and boosting production.      
Ezeaja Ikemefuna
Chief Information Officer
For: Director, Information