Amb. Jerry Hassan, Charge d’ Affairs, Embassy of Nigeria in Guinea, presented the seeds to Victor Onyenere, the Desk Officer, Rice Value Chain, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Charge d’ Affairs said the seeds were developed in Guinea.
According to him, the seeds when cultivated would reduce Nigeria’s dependence on rice importation and save foreign exchange for the country.
“These are the various varieties of rice, which I obtained from the Government of the Republic Guinea; I made the request in view of Government’s efforts to diversify the economy from oil to agriculture.
Guinea has different high yielding varieties, which we can try to help reduce our import bills because we are spending so much importing rice.
With these high yielding varieties, which can be cultivated three times a year, our farmers can increase rice production in the country,” he said.
Hassan said Guinea had made remarkable successes in research and he was looking forward to introducing high yielding mango and onions varieties to Nigeria.
While receiving the seeds on behalf the ministry, the Desk Officer, Rice Value Chain, Victor Onyenere, thanked the Government of the Republic of Guinea for the kind gesture.
He said the gift was not just to the ministry but for all Nigerian farmers as well as the country as a whole.
He said high yielding seeds reduce the cost of production for farmers as they would get more profit from the same unit of land and labour applied.
Onyenere explained that the seeds would go through some processes before the ministry would make them available to farmers for cultivation.
The desk officer said the seeds would be submitted to the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) for scrutiny.
According to him, the seeds will then go the National Cereals Research Institute for further analysis and multiplication trial, depending on the outcome from NASC and NAQS.
He said when it is confirmed that the seeds are as good or better than local varieties, they would be made available to farmers across the country.
Representing the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director, West Africa, Adeshida Foluso, said it was part of the ministry’s effort to key into government’s priority.
He said what the Charge d ’Affair in Guinea had done was a replication of what other Nigerian missions were doing to bring technologies and practices that could be adopted to improve agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
He said for an effective diversification of the economy, there was need to transform the agriculture sector, improve on practices and deepen productivity.
Foluso thanked the Government of Guinea for the donation which, he said, was not just rice varieties, but intellectual rights as well as all the efforts that went into developing the varieties.
The director said the gift was a reflection of the cordial relationship between both countries, and also to reciprocate Nigeria’s support to Guinea over the years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rice varieties are M6, Samou, Fikhe, CK 43, RD 15, Bapeye, CK 90, Rook 5, CK 73, CK21 and Massaraka.