The National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) has urged farmers to get climate tolerant seed varieties from the centre to overcome challenges of climate change.
Dr. Sunday Aladele, the Director of the Centre stated this on Friday at the Technical Working Group meeting on Germplasm Users’ Engagement Project held in Ibadan.
Alalade said: “Seed Resilience Project is a project that is taking place in five countries of the world and it is to address climate change.
“Climate change is eroding a number of crops and even affecting human being and animals. So, in order to secure food security the project is launched by Global trust Diversity Crop.
“This is an international organisation that is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the diversity of our crops are safe, secured for now and for future use.”
He said the message to the farmers was that the national Centre for genetic resources has been keeping a number of varieties that can mitigate the climate change they are experiencing on their fields.
“There have been some varieties in the past that they have lost, NACGRAB is still keeping it for them and they should approach us and come and receive; so that all the crops they are growing now that is not giving them enough yield, we have better diversity that they can use.
“The essence of the project is to make sure that we make all these resources available for them so that they will be able to more money in their pockets.
In an interview, Dr Eva Weltzien, a Consultant to the Global Crop Diversity Trust, (Crop Trust) on Users’ Engagement Seeds for Resilience Project said she came to learn about the progress of NACGRAB on the project so that the materials stored in gene bank can get to farmers who are interested to grow them
She said a lot of things can be done to make gene bank vibrant, one of which was to ensure that seed has to be available, they have to be of good quality and in addition they have to become useful.
“Further more iinformation about the seed and the characteristics of the varieties that are in the storage has to be available.
“This is because if you have to choose from a number from thousands, which one to grow, you need to have some criteria for choosing so.
“An important information is to actually know where the seed came from originally. Where they are grown and why the farmers used to grow it.
“And from then, you can have a data that you collected from specific trials; which can be evaluated, so that you know when and how long it may take to flower, what kind of grains they are, whether they are resistant to some specific diseases or insect,” Weltzien said.
The consultant said awareness is critical to make sure that people know about the seed varieties and so how to make that information more accessible is the next step.
“I am interested to make sure that farmers know that there is diversity available. That the old varieties they used to go is actually still accessible in the gene bank because sometimes the old seeds get lost,” she said.
Also, Dr Olabisi Alamu, the Activity leader, User Engagement Program, Nigeria said the essence of the meeting was to relate with the technical working group to play their role in the users engagement project.
He said the project was to address the development of resilience seeds against climate change, so that farmers will have the local seeds to increase their productivity.
“We are developing the local varieties available in the gene bank and we are exposing the ascension to farmers.
“We train farmers on the development of the value chain. We have unique materials to combat climate change in terms of productivity, pest tolerant and high yield which will enhance farmers productivity,” Alamu said.