Within seed sector transformation, an enabling environment supporting the investment in developing, releasing and registering new varieties is crucial.
Nigeria has a variety release system in place, however domestic and international seed companies indicate that the current system and practices do not support their activities. In order to ensure their investments in new varieties reach farmers in a sustainable and profitable manner, they collective call for a transformative process towards increased efficacy, efficiency, transparency and accountability in the variety release system. Improving the capacities and processes within the variety release system will be a critical contributor to wider sector transformation.
- In two years, the opportunities for modernizing and simplifying the variety release system are acknowledged among policy makers and stakeholders involved, and a strategy for such a reform is approved; insights into the benefits of enforcing ECOWAS regulations are available and shared and decision on its enforcement is made.
- In five years, the procedures and structure for variety release are fast, affordable and transparent; global and domestic companies no longer consider variety release an obstacle for the introduction of new varieties into the country. Research organizations have the capacity to conduct the required trials in a cost-effective and transparent manner.
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):
- Assess the efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness of the current system of variety registration and release as compared to other countries and to ECOWAS seed regulations; elaborate and propose a strategy for strengthening and/or simplifying the variety release system, considering an exemption for specific crops (vegetables) and support for third-party variety testing.
- Support enforcement of the ECOWAS seed regulations; support access to regional markets for Nigerian companies and encourage introduction of new varieties of international companies into Nigeria.
- Strengthen the infrastructural and human resource capacities of NARIs with crop mandates for variety trial implementation (partly foreseen to be covered through CSP).
- Ensure easy access to an updated national variety catalogue which also allows farmers to select varieties matching their agro-ecology, farming systems and market demands (through the seed tracker).
- With the PVP system in place, develop a system in which VCU and DUS testing is combined in one application for both variety release and PVP.