Seed sector alert Nigeria

Nigeria seed sector assessment

Seed Alerts identify current challenges and urgent action in the Nigerian seed sector, based on surveys and focus group discussions with various stakeholders.

Seed sector assessments identify current challenges and urgent action in the Nigerian seed sector, based on surveys and focus group discussions with various stakeholders. Below, please find the most recent seed alert for Nigeria with key actions defined. You can also download the complete assessment.

Methodology

Rapid assessments are conducted at the country level in May and June 2020 through survey and focus group discussions (FGDs). In its approach the rapid assessments are inspired by the sector model developed by AidEnvironment. Read more about the methodology on our page 'Rapid assessments: methodology'.

Seed sector assessment - May 2020

Alert 1: Mobility restrictions hamper the access to markets by farmers, seed companies and agro-dealers

The impact

  • COVID-19 measures reduce mobility of farmers; they cannot travel to points of sale, agro-dealers, formal and informal markets, where they purchase quality seed and other agricultural inputs
  • Agro-dealers, traders and other seed entrepreneurs have difficulties to reach or even operate within markets or locations where they do their business, this challenges their ability to sell quality seed and agro-inputs
  • The months of May and June are critical for the planting of crops are crucial for the agricultural economy and food security (e.g. cereals, legumes, root and tuber crops)

Actions required

  • Structure the trade of seed and agro-inputs in designated markets and on specific days
  • Comply in organizing these markets with social distancing directions of government and relevant agencies
  • Allow only entrance to these markets to authorized persons, e.g. certified agro-dealers, seed companies, seed inspectors and farmers
  • Use a decentralized model for organizing the markets that allows quality seed and agro-inputs to be transported close to farmers, and thus reduce the distance that farmers need to travel to access inputs
  • Review regularly the interstate movement of essential agricultural goods and services (by agencies at federal and state level) and provide guidance on measures to be taken to responsible authorities
  • Ensure that the services and business of seed companies and agro-input dealers are designated as essential
  • Communicate their role as essential to food security and the national economy widely through all traditional and social media platforms
  • Target with specific and tailored communication security and other law enforcement agencies to enable the effective inter- and intrastate movement of seed and other agro-inputs

Alert 2: Measures result in increased seed prices and reduce affordability for farmers

The impact

  • The COVID-19 crisis impacts farmers’ cash earnings from farming and their other income generating activities
  • The crisis and associated measures hinder farmers’ access to financial services for investing in the purchase of agro-inputs such as seed
  • Measures have implications on the costs of production, processing, transporting and marketing seed, e.g. the costs for transport has tripled
  • Considering uncertainty, farmers either advance purchase, delay or show a reduced willingness to pay for quality seed of improved varieties
  • This has major implications on the business model of seed companies, producers, and other seed entrepreneurs

Actions required

  • Encourage governments to provide seed subsidies to farmers as a palliative measure
  • Ensure subsidies only to be applicable for seed purchased from NASC approved seed companies and producers
  • Share in a structured manner and at state level information on the availability of seed with companies and producers
  • Engage in an organized manner in the marketing and distribution of the subsidized seed directly to farmers
  • Within the marketing and distribution schemes, promote the use of Seedcodex, ensure seed quality and package identity to allow companies to remain accountable for quality, and reduce opportunities for substandard or fake seed

Alert 3: Mobility restrictions hamper seed quality assurance services 

The impact

  • The COVID-19 measures negatively impact the functioning of field inspection and laboratory testing required for seed certification
  • NASC inspection officers are hampered inspecting seed production fields
  • The transactions and linkages required for sending samples for laboratory testing are constrained
  • The linkages and transactions required in picking of certification tags and its administration on seed packages are constrained
  • Hampered quality assurance services create a risk to the business model of seed companies and producers in the production of certified seed of improved varieties
  • A subsequent result is that because of scarcity, seed prizes will increase, and some entrepreneurs will put on the market carry-over or substandard seed

Actions required

  • Raise awareness and engage with responsible authorities to consider seed an essential commodity, which allows for specific exemptions on COVID-19 measures to be developed for the seed industry and associated services
  • Encourage NASC regional offices to approach their respective state Commissioners of Agriculture and COVID-19 Taskforce including relevant Senior Police Authorities to countersign and stamp letters issued for seed movement, building on the effective measure taken in Oyo state
  • Provide certification officers and seed companies with movement tags or permits
  • Engage in a communication strategy to inform security forces on the seed industry designation as an essential service
  • Decentralize responsibilities from NASC headquarters to regional offices in seed quality assurance
  • Encourage and support third-party certification for field inspection where intra- and interstate restrictions prevent seed certification officer’s access to seed field

Alert 4: Mobility restrictions hamper the production and supply of early generation seed

The impact

  • Early generation seed (EGS) production and supply by National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) to seed producers and companies are negatively impacted by COVID-19 mobility measures
  • Hampered EGS supply creates a risk to the business model of seed companies and producers in the production of certified seed of new, improved varieties
  • Seed producers and companies will be hampered in the next season’s production of the right quantity of certified seed of their portfolio of hybrid and open-pollinated maize varieties, as well as for the production of certified seed of improved varieties for crops such as rice and legumes
  • This will impact negatively the quantity of seed and diversity of varieties that seed companies make available to farmers in the market
  • With a foreseen subsequent scarcity, seed prizes will increase, and some entrepreneurs will put on the market carry-over or substandard seed

Actions required

  • Raise awareness and engage with responsible authorities to include production and supply of EGS as a part of the larger seed industry and thereby an essential sector, qualifying for the specific exemptions on COVID-19 measures for the seed industry and associated services
  • Encourage NASC regional offices to approach their respective state Commissioners of Agriculture and COVID-19 Taskforce including relevant Senior Police Authorities to countersign and stamp letters issued for EGS movement and continued EGS production at NARIs
  • Engage in a communication strategy to inform security forces on the seed industry designation as an essential service