OPENING REMARKS BY MR. RICHARD OLAFARE, SEEDAN PRESIDENT AT THE MEETING BETWEEN THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA(CBN) AND SEEDAN TECHNICAL COMMITTEE HELD ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2018 AT CBN HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA.
The Governor Sir, we have the honour and privilege, first of all to thank the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for bringing us to you, and to express our deep appreciation for receiving us within a very short notice.
Herewith me are members of the Technical Committee of the SEED ENTREPRENEURS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (SEEDAN) who have come to apprise you of our Association as the leading quality seeds producers, processors and marketers in Nigeria. We are also one of the foremost seed trade associations in Africa and the leader in West Africa, where we have exported quality seeds to some of them namely, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Gambia.
Members of our Association demonstrated capacity to support Government program and supplied quality seeds during the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme from 2012 to 2015. To do so, SEEDAN worked closely with FMARD&NASC. Under this administration, SEEDAN also, supplied quality seeds to support the Green Alternative initiative.
We appreciate the lofty Anchor Borrowers Programme which you introduced in collaboration with the HMA and other stakeholders, and which is bringing about a Rice Revolution in this country and has also advanced the Agricultural Value-Chain.
I would like to congratulate you on your success so far, not only in the management of monetary and fiscal policy of our nation but in ensuring that Nigeria can produce what we eat and do not have to rely on imported food. Thus, conserving our foreign exchange, creating employment and ensuring food security.
Mr. Governor Sir, we are sure you are aware that quality seed is critical to the success of the Anchor Programme.
It is in this respect, that our Association, SEEDAN, is ready to support the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
It may interest you to know that the Nigerian seed sector is a huge industry estimated to be worth over N150 billion.
However, the sector is in dire need of your urgent financial support particularly, in the production of the three classes of seed, namely Breeder, Foundation and Certified seeds. It also requires critical infrastructure/human resources needed to support seed value chain development.
As contained in our memo to you, the estimated amount required for the three classes of seeds and for the critical infrastructure/human resources is about N40 billion annually. Your support in this area will, no doubt, accelerate the development and advancement of the seed sector in Nigeria.
Mr. Governor Sir, the call to National duty led us to participate with all sense of patriotism in the GES scheme referred to earlier. However, the delay in the payment of the seeds we supplied since 2013/2014 and 2015 has brought untold economic losses and hardship to our members as follows through no faults of theirs: –
- Being blacklisted by the Commercial banks that provided loan facilities for the GES. Thus, they have not been able to borrow money from any bank to continue their business.
- Interest drawback remains unpaid.
- Excessive interest charges and penalties due to delays in loan repayment
- Threat letters of litigation against our members.
We would therefore, be most grateful if you could use your good offices to:
- Remove the blacklisting of our members by the Commercial banks concerned.
- Cancel all interest charges and penalties.
- End issuance of threatening litigation letter against our members by the banks concerned.
- Effect payment of interest drawback.
- CBN to consider Anchor Borrowers Programme for Seeds.
- CBN to establish a special fund for the seed sector as a whole which involves R&D; Early Generation Seeds and attendant infrastructure/human capital development.
Mr. Governor, your approval of our prayers would be highly appreciated.
Thank you for your kind attention.
President of SEEDAN.