Nigerian Economic Summit Group(NESG) has revealed that over 52 million Nigerians are food insecure.
NESG said hunger has been on the rise in Nigeria and with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, affordability, availability and accessibility to nutritious foods is increasingly becoming difficult.
Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola, Chief Executive Officer of NESG stated this on Thursday in Lagos during the unveiling of Plant Variety Protection(PVP) Act 2021 and plans for implementation.
Jaiyeola said the implementation of Plant Variety Protection Act would assist to better position Nigeria to feed her growing population and equally attract foreign investments into the Seed sub-sector as well as enjoy the gains of intra- and inter-border trade opportunities in seed trade and exports.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the PVP Bill, he called for the implementation of the PVP Act with every sense of urgency by all critical stakeholders.
“As we convene to celebrate this great achievement with the National Agricultural Seeds Council and discuss plans for implementation, we must act with a sense of urgency to strengthen partnerships for resilient seeds regulations through catalytic investments into the Seeds sector, tackle high level insecurity for sustainable and inclusive seeds systems and agricultural transformation in Nigeria.
“There is no doubt that the implementation of Plant Variety Protection Act will assist to better position Nigeria to feed her growing population and equally attract foreign investments into the Seed sub-sector as well as enjoy the gains of intra- and inter-border trade opportunities in seed trade and exports.”
He explained that plant breeders and farmers could offer solution to the challenge of food insecurity, adding that to succeed in this onerous task, they need the right tools.
He added that to re-orient food systems, that the plant breeders and farmers should be given opportunities to thrive as well as fairly rewarded for the work they do.
“With increased incomes and profits among small-scale farmers and plant breeders, their businesses are invested back into local economies, where they create jobs and equitable growth.
“This is crucial for creating opportunities for rural youth and to live and thrive in their various communities,” he said.
Quoting the Pan African Farmer Organisation (PAFO), Jaiyeola said the agriculture sector in Nigeria needs six times more seeds than it currently utilises to fulfil its yield and production potential.
“As we foster productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector through the protection of the intellectual property rights of Nigerian plant breeders, it is our hope that there will be increase in seed production and better access to improved seed varieties by end-users,”he said.