Nigeria: NASC to deploy smartcard to tackle fake seed problemsDevdiscourse News Desk | Abuja | Updated: 16-03-2020 14:28 IST | Created: 16-03-2020 14:28 IST
The Director-General of National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) in Nigeria, Dr. Phillip Ojo, has said that about six million smartcards will be deployed in the farming season to check fake seeds, according to a news report by This Day.
Ojo said that there is a serious need for the authentication system to be advanced for the evaluation of the quality of seeds. This step has been taken because of the increasing number of complaints by farmers for fake seeds, fraudulent labeling, and regulatory offenses among others.
During the opening of the consortium planning meeting on the implementation of the NASC seedcodex on EGS, which was held in Abuja, Ojo said that the challenge of low yield of agricultural productivity remained a major concern in the country.
He also noted that the introduction of the seedcodex, which is a tracking app to check fake seeds had become very important for the development of agriculture.
Ojo said, sanitizing the seed business would require the provision of efficient tracking and tracing of seeds which makes seedcodex inevitable going forward.
Seeds are not sold in open containers but in closed containers and those containers are tagged but unlike what was done in past when there were two certification tags, one insider and the other outside and because of wear and tear movement of the outer tag, the council has decided to introduce a new smartcard which is going to be attached to the container outside.
Ojo said, "you cannot remove the smartcard and it has a silver panel and aluminum foil that you will remove, scratch and see a number and that number will be sent to a dedicated number, particularly 1393 and immediately, the purchaser would be advised as to the content of the container whether it is genuine or adulterated."
Ojo said that through the smart card you can see the name of the producer, where it was produced and all the quality parameters of the seeds.
He said the council would continue to provide quality regulation of seed matters adding that this informed the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law, the National Agricultural Seeds Council Act 21 of 2019.
"We introduced the national seed tracker, introduced the turn-key electronic seed authentication system, developed a five-year strategic plan and upgraded our central seed testing laboratories to meet international standards," he added.