Baseline Assessment of the Crop Variety Release and Registration System In Nigeria, Phase I

An effective and efficient crop registration and variety release system is crucial to the growth and development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector. The system ensures that only high-performing and well-adapted varieties enter the seed sector and become available for multiplication and marketing to farmers for food production. The current process and procedure to release new varieties in a timely and cost-effective manner adversely affects the operations of seed companies, limits the number of improved varieties available to farmers, and increases the vulnerability of food systems to shocks and stresses. Given the criticality of an efficient crop registration system, the Collaborative Seed Programme (CSP), through the Variety Release topic, has embarked on retooling the process, beginning with an in-depth assessment of its status in Nigeria.

The CSP conducted a study on Nigeria’s Crop Variety Registration and Release Process, focusing on four crops – Maize, Rice, Cassava, and Tomato. Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited led this study in collaboration with the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) and the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI). In September 2021, the Variety Release topic also held a stakeholder workshop to validate findings from the baseline assessment.


The Crop Variety Registration and Release System in Nigeria

Nigeria’s crop variety registration and release system feature a range of actors across the public and private sectors who coordinate, nominate, and evaluate crop varieties for release. It involves three mandatory trials: DUS on-station trials, VCU multi-location trials, and on-farm trials, all of which are conducted by the developing breeders and organizations, in collaboration with the mandated National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

The study considered three leading indicators:

  • duration of the variety registration and release process
  • the average cost to conclude variety registration and release
  • the number of varieties released per focus crop in the last five years.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Nigeria’s crop variety registration and release process is one of the lengthiest in Africa, taking between 42 to 55 months to complete, with the mandatory trials accounting for more than 80% of the total duration.
  • The cost of variety registration and release is as high as $60,000 and varies by crop, with most expenses incurred during the mandatory trials.
  • The developing breeders, organizations, and companies are fully responsible for the costs of registration and release. Private seed companies and CGIAR centers incur higher costs when compared to NARIs. These stakeholders perceive this feature as creating inequality in the system, which reduces the investment by private companies and global public good breeding programmes in the Nigerian seed sector.
  • Maize accounts for over 50% of the 298 varieties released for the four focus crops in Nigeria, with rice, cassava, and tomato accounting for the residual.
  • Private sector involvement in the release of varieties is low. The private sector developed only 9% of all varieties released in Nigeria for the focus crops.
  • Other issues such as the poor digitization of the process, capacity constraints of key actors, and regulations are additional bottlenecks that contribute to the inefficiency in the process.

Do you want to know more about the Variety Release system in Nigeria? Please click the link to access the full report.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs finances the Collaborative Seed Programme under the Nigeria-Netherlands Seed Partnership (NNSP).

Background Information on the Variety Release Topic

The ambition of the Variety Release topic is to increase efficiency and transparency in variety release procedures and enforce ECOWAS harmonization on variety release to support private sector investment.

For more on the topic, visit

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