Following the insufficiency of food produce in Nigeria, East-West Seed, a seed company, has unveiled new hybrid seed varieties to increase farmers’ yield as part of effort to strengthen and further diversify the vegetable sector.
The hybrid varieties include tomato, pepper, pumpkin, water melon, pawpaw among others.
Speaking at the Product launch, Exhibition and Seed Fair in Abuja, the Business Development Manager for East West Seed Nigeria, Hadiza Yaro, said the launch was aimed at improving farmers’ access to quality seeds and by strengthening marketing and distribution channels to consumer markets.
Yaro said the firm has a mission to improve the income of farmers through high-quality vegetable seeds.
She said the company’s breeders are always researching to see what are the trends in the market, the complaints from farmers, what can they do to improve the existing varieties so that farmers can make more yields to get good income.
“This event is to showcase the invisible work of our breeders because you discover breeders working for maybe 30 years and yet they don’t have one single variety launched into the market.
“Today is hard work for about 15 years because it is not easy to come up with one hybrid,” she said.
She said the company has an army of agronomists that are working with farmers on the field.
“The event is to offer farmers new innovations that would increase their yield and also bring to them new portfolios that never existed before.
“We have a lot of products in the market but then there are new innovative products coming into the market because of every other smallholder farmer out there.
“You discover more challenges are coming up with climate change, pests, diseases, and then if we want to depend on the old varieties we have, we will not be competitive because things are changing and we should change with time”.
Also speaking, the Director General, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), Muazu Maigari while noting that more need to be done to make Nigeria’s vegetable to be competitive said, a typical local farmer farms his field, defecates and urinate around the farm which gets the vegetables infested.
Maigari said the act by farmers which brought the quality of the country’s vegetables down has made a lot of big supermarkets import.
He said the Association for Fresh Foods and Vegetables Export also reached out to the NABG on not being able to export due to high taxes and tariffs.
He added that the NABG has taken that up with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
“We hope we are going to be able to form a committee that will look at these things because we represent the side of business,” he said.
“This is one of the major problems why our own locally produced vegetables cannot find a market in those spaces. Because nobody trusts our hygiene or vegetables or sanitation is not something that changes our data”, he said.