The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arc Kabir Ibrahim, has explained that the purpose of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Bill is to protect indigenous plant breeders and researchers.
This explanation became necessary following calls from some quarters asking President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the bill.
A group Health of Mother Earth Foundation, (HOMEF) raised concern that once the bill is signed into law by the President, farmers would be criminalised if they duplicate or share seeds registered under this law.
But Arc Ibrahim said AFAN supported the passage of the PVP Bill, Biosafety Bill and Seed Act at the National Assembly public hearing on separate occasions after studying the drafts and making input.
He explained, “the PVP Bill is the copyright over varieties developed by breeders and farmers alike simple.”
He said without the protection provided by PVP, the efforts of Nigerian researchers and breeders would be hijacked and other people will be reluctant to avail the farmers with their material for use without control or remuneration.
“From the foregoing, the farmers have a simple mind and fully understand these bills and believe they will help them to carry on with their businesses sustainably.
“Mr President is invited to kindly assent to the PVP Bill for the benefit of the Nigerian farmers.”
On the Biosafety bill, the AFAN National President said he said the authority to regulate this technology is vested in the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) which has the responsibility of permitting the use of Genetically Modified crops after due diligence.
“There is no scientifically established nexus between GMO and cancer but the Anti’s are all over the place trying to scuttle the effort to embrace Biotechnology which leads to the production of GM Technology that helps in the production of seeds which are high yielding, drought and disease resistant thereby taking the farmer out of poverty,” he said.
On Seed Act, he said the “Seed Act 2019 already signed into law makes the NASC (National Agricultural Seed Council) the regulating authority of Agricultural seed in Nigeria.
“The seed system is vital to Agricultural growth and requires extreme care in handling and use because it has life. There is a clear distinction between seed and grain!
“Unless this is properly regulated the farmers will continue to plant grains instead of seeds and thereby remain poor due to low yield.
“Hybridization on farms and laboratories is allowed and regulated in the seed Act as such the farmers can retain the seeds that they develop over time.”
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