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Seed is the basic input in crop production. It sets the limits to the effectiveness of all other inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, irrigation water, and even management. The attributes of high quality seeds include high genetic and physical purity,, high germinability, vigor, freedom from noxious weeds, pests and diseases. Seed is a living material and hence requires special care, in the multiplication, processing and storage, unlike grain, which is used essentially for consumption livestock and man.

National Seed Policy Plan

Back ground  The existing National Seed Policy formulated in 1990
stressed the importance of ensuring an adequate supply of good quality seed and provides a framework for future development of the seed sub-sector. The key objectives of the Seed sub-sector policy are to:
a.    support varietal improvement, registration, release and multiplication of released varieties;
b.    improvement in quality of seed sold to farmers
c.    reorientation of the operation of public sector agencies, along commercial lines; and
d.    encouragement of private sector participation in seed operations through appropriate policies and promotional activities.
The implementation of this seed policy led to a seed development plan with the following components:

Varietal development;
Variety evaluation, testing, registration and release; Seed multiplication;
Breeder seed
Foundation seed
Certified seed
Seed processing;
Seed certification and quality control; Development of seed industry in the private sector; Seed distribution and marketing;
Promotional activities;
Strategy to approach small farmers; Organization/Human and financial resources; Legislation/Seed decree;
National Seed Council.
Under this plan the Federal Government made specific policy changes which
a.    Pricing policy for the public sector agencies aimed at full cost recovery;
b.    Public sector to deal only in open pollinated varieties leaving the hybrid seed production which requires more intensive. cultural practices and more remunerative for the private sector;
c    The public sector would withdraw from the production and marketing of certified seed in favour of FASCOMs and private seed enterprises, as they develop;
d.     representatives of private enterprise on national seed council and their involvement in policy making on seed issues;
e.     Access to breeder and foundation seeds of publicly bred varieties to enable establishment of seed enterprises without independent research capability. And
f.     Assist the private seed enterprise in import of breeding material to develop their own varieties and hybrids.