Abuja — The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono, has launched the Plant Variety Protection Act 2021 (PVP) to safeguard the intellectual property rights of breeders.
Essentially, plant breeding is the purposeful alteration of plant species to create desired genotypes and phenotypes for specific purposes.
This is just as the minister charged the Nigerian Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) to ensure full implementation of the law, to among other things enhance farmers’ access to quality seeds to boost food production in the country.
While commending the Act which was a brainchild of the NASC, Nanono bemoaned the low budgetary allocation to research, lamenting that the huge chunk of the funds going to research institutes are for salaries and allowances, and not actual research.
He said the development was totally unacceptable adding that this was why the federal government is taking the issue of research seriously.
The minister said, “We need to do something drastic and we need to be serious about research to develop the agricultural sector.”
Harping on the need for proper implementation, the minister said though the country is good at making laws, implementation remained major challenge.
He added that it was important that the PVP act is fully implemented while stakeholders monitored progress.
He said he would not give in to suggestions by some economists on the need to import seed, following claims that the country is in an emergency situation.
Rather, the minister insisted that there are enough seeds in the country adding that the problem centered on accessing quality ones.
He said innovation and research remained major challenges towards the development of the agricultural sector.
Also, speaking at the unveiling, Director General, NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, described the legislation as an important milestone in the development of the agricultural sector.
He noted that Nigeria was one of the few countries in Africa without a plant variety protection system.
He said the PVP law was critical to the agricultural transformation agenda of the current administration as this would incentivise national and multinational agribusiness investments in the country.
He said, “We will begin to see on our farmers’ field superior yielding, stress tolerant, disease resistant, smart climate and input varieties which will be introduced by innovative breeders both from the public and the private sector in few years to come.”
He said the country will also begin to witness efficient land use and reduced food cost as a result if increased productivity from cultivated hectares across the country.
Ojo however, stressed that implementation was key to achieving the desired impact, adding that NASC had commenced actions to set up a functional PVP office to receive and process applications for the granting of a PVP rights in Nigeria from anywhere in the world.
“We are also working to develop supporting regulations that will help implement the Act,” he said.