The National Agricultural Seeds Council has been mandated to henceforth certify cassava planting materials before they are distributed for planting in the country.
Following the mandate, the council is to undertake inspection visits to farmers’ farms before such could be certified as input suppliers.
This was made known during the three-day training to onboard new Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs) and Foundation Seed Producers (FSPs) in South East /South South states, organised by the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, under the Basics -1 Programme.
NRCRI Executive Director, Prof Ukpabi Joe Ukpabi, through his Director of Research Support Services, Dr Godwin Asumugha, charged trainees/participants comprising 6O village seed entrepreneurs, 27 foundation seed Producers and three certification officers from Abia, Imo and Akwa Ibom states to, during the training, learn how to produce certifiable cassava seeds.
Asumugha said that the training, ‘Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System in Nigeria,’ which was effected in partnership with the IITA, was intended to teach the trainees different aspects of cassava stem/seed production.
He added that while the entrepreneurs/trainees would require their farms to be certified by the council which is the national body mandated to monitor and pre-certify seeds before they are sold in the market, they (the entrepreneurs), would also be required to key into the cassava seed tracker for proper identification.
A trainee, Mrs Ijeoma Nwachukwu, who is also leader of Imo State Women Farmers Association, said the training had not only equipped participants with the necessary knowledge, but had the capacity to engender massive production of appropriate quality seeds from next year.