To boost food production through the deployment of new technologies, the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN), have unveiled a private for-profit foundation seed entity – ECOBasic Seed Company Limited to produce foundation seed for the Nigerian and West African markets.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Managing Director, ECOBasic Seed Company, Mr. Brighton Karume, said Nigeria could close her maize production versus demand gap by increasing the number of farmers that uses hybrid variety seed from the current 10 per cent to about 50 to 100 per cent.
He added that the development will double the country’s maize yield from the current two metric tonnes per hectare to over four mt/hectare, thereby increasing yearly production to about 20 million mt.
He noted that the company would provide quality and sustainable foundation seed solutions to hybrid companies and increase the productivity and profitability of seed companies and farmers in Nigeria.
“To catalyse the development of hybrid maize technology adoption rate in Nigeria, medium term ECOBasic will concentrate in Nigeria whilst in the long run, it will target the ECOWAS region. It will target indigenous and international seed companies that produce certified hybrid seed.”
In his remarks, Executive Director of AATF, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, said the company would fill a vacuum that denied farmers access to quality and pure seeds.
He explained that the new company would produce, process, and supply high-quality foundation seed to companies, across the Nigerian and West African seed markets.
Kanangire said: “It is a strategic priority for every West Africa nation to be self-sufficient in agricultural food production, and the journey to food security begins with high quality foundation seed with undiluted purity.”
Also speaking, Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, noted that over 90 per cent of the Early Generation Seed (EGS) – breeder and foundation seed – sourced in Nigeria comes from research institutions.
In her address, the manager at Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited, Aisha Hadejia, commended the African Agricultural Technology Foundation for supporting the ECOBasic Seed Company achievement.