Decentralization of seed quality assurance

Seed sector development in Nigeria is hampered by its limited access to and use of seed quality assurance services, as well as their use being limited to a small number of crops. The issue was prioritized in the development of the National Seed Road Map.

Enhancing and differentiating the capacity in seed quality assurance will be an essential pathway toward seed sector transformation. This will be achieved through developing and fostering modalities for accreditation (seed producers’ or seed company inspection), third-party inspection (i.e. extension agents licensed to inspect) and be complemented with crop-tailored protocols and modalities for specific crops and seed systems.

This process of decentralization will reduce the burden on the limited human and technical capacity of regional offices the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), and advance seed producers and entrepreneurs in formal, intermediary and informal seed systems producing and marketing an increased volume of quality seed of a diversity of crops.

Topic vision

  • In five years, decentralized systems and modalities for seed quality assurance supported by Seed Tracker and Seed-Codex technologies have been piloted and tested in at least five crops, covering multiple seed systems and at least five states; lessons learned on modalities, digital technologies, standards and protocols are available and incorporated in a plan for further scaling and institutionalization.
  • In ten years, decentralized systems and modalities for seed quality assurance are mainstream, which results in certified seed being available for a wide diversity of crops; various seed quality assurance modalities are used by seed entrepreneurs; the NASC oversees the larger seed quality assurance structure, which is effective and efficient.

Strategic innovation pathway (SIP)

This pathway is presented in the NSRM. The pathway is essentially an agreed set of steps which see partners collaborate and progress the sector from its current status and challenges, through a process of catalytic innovation towards the stated topic ambition(s):

  1. Review the NASC’s existing operational approach to accreditation and third-party field inspection, seed testing and quality control, and seed certification; assess the opportunities for fostering decentralization and the inclusion of multiple crops within the NASC Act; assess the NASC’s crop coverage in terms of standards, protocols and quality assurance modalities
  2. Assess linkages between seed entrepreneurs in multiple seed systems and the NASC for seed quality assurance services and crop coverage; assess the diversity of arrangements and modalities for third-party inspection by private seed certification entities, and accreditation of seed entrepreneurs for internal quality control; assess standards and protocols available for crops not covered in Nigeria but available elsewhere
  3. Pilot decentralized seed quality assurance modalities within major value chain development programmes; support tailored seed technology and systems-oriented human capacity; develop and test standards, protocols and modalities for crops not yet covered
  4. Monitor progress and impact of pilots, facilitate learning lessons, foster scaling and institutionalization