NIGERIA – The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) a regulator in the agriculture sector in Nigeria, has introduced an innovative platform for electronic quality verification of seeds and planting materials in the country.

The agency which operates under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, will work with mPedigree as its strategic innovation partner, reports Vanguard.

mPedigree will deploy its oversight technology to advance the program and ensure digital surveillance of the national seeds supply system.

Commenting on the development, Director-General, DG, NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, stated that the technology will enable quality and authentication verification by farmers and the public through SMS, smartphone apps, and web.

“We will commence the implementation of a turnkey, electronic, agro-certification program for the Nigerian seed industry, based on mPedigree’s globally proven and multi-award winning Goldkeys platform,” Dr Philip noted.

Also speaking, Chukwudi Madu, the Head Corporate Affairs for mPedigree, emphasized that the project will enhance food security in Nigeria as it will ensure farmers get quality seeds and consequently bumper harvest.

“The new electronic seed quality system positions Nigeria as one of a very small group of countries worldwide with full regulatory visibility into the entire seed supply of the country.

“Under the introduced scheme farmers shall from June 2019 be able to verify the certification status of seed packets they purchase from agro-dealers.
“The data from these verifications shall complement current enforcement mechanisms and strengthen the new online seed batch approval process that is to accompany the verification system,” he said

The electronic seed certification  system  has been introduced in East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania and is aslo set to be integrated in other COMESA countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe.

“By digitizing the quality certification management process, NASC aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria’s food security and seed stock surveillance capacity, thereby boosting agribusiness and helping eliminate hunger. “The increased traceability and accountability should also greatly enrich the policy formulation process by removing information asymmetries and increasing responsiveness.

“Market efficiency is a major expected outcome of the scheme, since fraud and faking shall be suppressed through the business process automation and enhanced transparency”, Madu added.