The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, and Content Global Development, has launched a platform to track the adoption of improved seed varieties and their returns, through genotype fingerprinting.
Tagged “Institutionalizing Monitoring of Crop Variety Adoption Using Genotyping programme” (IMAGE), the platform will measure the rate of improved seed adoption, by farmers. It will also ensure variety monitoring and reporting, for the adopted seeds.
NASC Director-General, Philip Ojo, who revealed this recently at the launch, noted that the project will span five years. According to him, the project formation process took off in Kenya, in 2019.
For this project, Nigeria selected four seeds; rice, maize, cassava and cowpea, AgroNigeria gathered.
According to Ojo, the project will champion a paradigm shift “from our traditional and largely inaccurate methodology for measuring farmer adoption of improved variety and how varieties turnover through time.”
He explained that the platform will make for more accurate monitoring and reportage of seed performance.
According to him, adopting the system will help farmers and the nation in general, seeing that previous manual monitoring efforts had yielded no results.
The project, he added, will make for an improved policy formation system for seeds utilisation in Nigeria.
He said, “Over time, studies of improved seed adoption in Nigeria are almost based on household surveys and are premised on the assumption that a farmer can accurately self-report their use of improved seed varieties.
“However, many studies have shown that farmers’ report of seed varieties planted, or whether the seed is improved or local are sometimes inconsistent with the DNA fingerprinting results of these varieties.
“You would agree with me, that misidentification of seed varieties or type could have several implications for both adoption of improved technology, for planting, for Policy formulation for food security and also for regulatory activities.”
He assured of the NASC’s support for the project, calling on others present to do the same.
He projected that the adoption of the system will make for stakeholder coordination, capacity building and total varietal development in Nigeria.
Other partners for IMAGE include International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Excellence in Breeding Platform, International Food Policy Research Institute, among others.
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