Nigeria Early Generation Seed Study

Nigeria Early Generation Seed Study

Seeds Systems in Nigeria

There are four identified seed systems in Nigeria. These include:

  • Farmer-saved.
  • Public-private composed of the National Agriculture Research Institutes (NARIs) with private seed company involvement in certified seed production.
  • Public-led systems.
  • Private-led systems dominated by local seed companies. The farmer-saved seed systems represent the majority of seed volume.

The largest proportion of the EGS volume is produced by the public and private systems, while farmer-saved seeds and farmer-to-farmer seed exchange dominate the informal seed sector.

While smallholder farmers in Nigeria are aware of improved varieties, the rate of adoption is low across most agro-ecological zones, as the majority of smallholder farmers recycle seeds of improved varieties. However, some fraction of farmers buys improved seeds while others depend upon free seeds acquired from donor- or NGO-funded input intervention programs. Adoption of improved varieties is higher for some crops than others, with smallholder farmers tending to adopt improved varieties of grains more than improved varieties of root and tuber crops, because root and tuber planting material is easily recyclable. Accordingly, there has been little demand for, or development of, root and tuber varieties. Among grain crops, improved varieties of maize, specifically hybrid maize, are adopted more than other grain cereals or legumes. This is because the maize value chain and seed system attract more development initiatives from NGOs and donors than other grain value chains.

Early Generation Seed Systems by Crops

Nigeria has a three-tier system of seed production and multiplication: breeder seed, foundation seed, and commercial or certified seed under the seed certification scheme. While EGS systems and specific roles and responsibilities vary across the four selected crops for this study, some general themes resonate across crops. The NARIs are responsible for breeder seed production. Depending on the crop, private seed companies and seed production units of the NARIs also produce foundation seed. ADPs and private seed companies are the key actors involved in commercial seed production, but private companies willing to produce both foundation and certified seeds must do so under separate trade names. Historically, the NSS under NASC was responsible for foundation seed production, but under the current National Seed Policy, foundation and certified seed production is led by the private sector. NASC is now responsible for supervision, monitoring, coordination, assurance of quality, and certification, including licensing private seed companies to produce foundation and certified seeds.

Rice: It is estimated that only 10% of rice planted area is supported by the formal seed system, while 90% is planted with seeds sourced by farmers through informal means such as local open markets and farmer exchanges. The primary reasons for the dominance of the informal system are limited production capacity and often-changing government policies that weaken demand for quality seeds.

Yam: Currently the formal seed system for yam is very small, contributing ~2% of the total yam planted area. The informal seed system for yam contributes ~98% of yam planted area and is dominated by the public sector, with very little private sector participation. There are promising developments underway to integrate new technologies and quality management protocols into the yam value chain approach to produce and deliver improved varieties.

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