The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) on Monday, May 31, 2021 expressed commitment towards effective implementation of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) law.
Director-General of the Council, Dr Phillip Ojo, told newsmen in Abuja that Nigeria’s seed industry would record a turnaround in productivity as the law would accelerate investments and give farmers more access to quality seeds.
The PVP Bill, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27, gives breeders intellectual property over a new plant variety with exclusive right to commercialise seeds and propagate materials.
Ojo said that the law would give impetus to agricultural growth in the country and enable plant breeders and farmers reap the benefits of their efforts.
He described the long absence of the PVP law as the bane of investment and progress in the sector.
“This important law which we described as the `missing law’ is now in place and requires only few finishing for us to begin to see the impactful transformation of the seeds sector on the nation’s agriculture space.
“This law will bring out clearly going forward the contribution of plant breeding to the Nigerian agricultural sector.
“We will begin to see on our farmers field superior yielding, stress tolerant, disease resistant, climate-smart and input efficient varieties.
“These will be introduced by innovative breeders both from the public and the private sector in few years to come,’’ Ojo said.
He added that the law would enable Nigeria witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result of increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country.
According to him, all the transformation will not happen without a push.
“The NASC has already started doing what is necessary to ensure that we do not only have the PVP law but we implement it for the expected dividends to be delivered to farmers and the entire Nigerians.
“We have already commenced actions to set up a functional PVP office that will be capable to receive and process applications for the granting of a PVP law in Nigeria from anywhere in the world.
“We are also working to develop supporting regulations that will help implement the act,” he said.
He said that the agency would continue to collaborate with partners both locally and internationally to ensure completion of the process of becoming a full member of the International Union for the Protection of new Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
“This process is what every other country with a serious desire to transform its agricultural sector is currently undergoing.
“Nigeria and Ghana are closely following each other in the effort to become the next new member of UPOV to join Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Tanzania who are already members of UPOV.
“Even as we celebrate the new PVP law today marking an end to our journey of introduction of the law, we are starting a new one which is the journey towards full implementation of the law.
“This new journey is a very daunting one and I wish to solicit afresh the support of all our partners and collaborators to ensure we gain significantly as a nation from the benefits of this new law,’’ Ojo said.
By Ikenna Uwadileke