It was first of it’s kind as Syngenta Foundation-Nigeria organised a 2-day workshop at the International Institute For Tropical Agriculture, Kano Station, Kano State.
The theme of the event: ‘Sensitise Seed Companies on Product Information and Market Opportunities of Improved Cowpea and Sorghum Varieties’ was a keynote address that was delivered by the Deputy Governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, ably represented by a senior civil servant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Engr. Balarabe Sabo.
A Seed System Special from IITA, Dr. Lucky Omoigui, in his presentation ‘Understanding Farmers Perception In Terms Of Seed Characteristics And Procurement’ revealed that ‘cowpea is a sickler.’
He stated that food production must increase because Nigeria has a growing population, adding that cowpea and sorghum will not be an exception.
“Plant breeders has helped to improved legume varieties with Nigeria as the largest producer of cowpea in the world with a production of 7.41 million tonnes from an estimated area of 12.6 million hectares, however, these crops suffers low productivity.”
He advocated that, there is a need to develop the strong seed sector, by producing and using improved varieties.
The Seed System Specialist further highlighted the constraint in the seed sector to include: limited investment in seed sector development, limited market for seed because it is self-pollinated, lack of access to credit, limited access to information, low seed multiplication ratio, among others.
Speaking further, he identified three segment of farmers to include: ‘Transition (sticks to local seed), Conservative (prefers local variety because of flavor) and Innovative (with a positive perception). To identify participatory activities. The market segments is important to seed companies. In conclusion he stated that: the quality seed is essential for crop productivity, genuine seed companies cannot emphasized, access to quality seed in affordable quantity, and finally, for sustainability of product delivery will be a drive that is achievable through public private partnership.’
He maintained that most varieties (cowpea and sorghum) do not get to the hand of the farmers despite Nigeria being the largest cowpea producer in the world.
Dr. Lucky maintained that the purpose of Syngenta Foundation is to network with seed companies to promote varieties which can be achieved by strengthening the seed system.
The second presentation, ‘seed marketing opportunities and prospect in Nigeria’ was done by the Mr Folarin Okelola; the Technical Adviser to the DG of National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC.
According to him, ”crop is important for food security while seed is important for crop security. The production of seed is a multi billion dollar investment all over the world.”
He emphasized that the aim of seed marketing is to satisfy farmers demand for reliable supply of a range of improved seed varieties of assured quality.
He noted that a well defined market has to promote the product, put it in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price for a sale to be made.
“Marketing is not just advertising, distribution, or sales but an integrated management of sale. Advertise, promote and embark on market research, forecasting, new product development, stock control and quality assurance, etc, ” he said.
Over 30 Agricultural Stakeholders from northern part of Nigeria attended the workshop.