The law on the protection of plant varieties promulgated in Nigeria in May 2021. The protection of plant varieties will make it possible to stimulate both national and multinational investments in the seed industry and ultimately contribute to the development of agriculture, a sector that contributes about 22% of the GDP, with the provision of quality seeds.
The new law gives breeders intellectual property rights over a new plant variety with exclusive rights to market seeds and propagating material. It will also grant intellectual property rights to breeders who develop new and improved seeds to improve agricultural production. In addition, the USDA points out, the law contains very important segments that highlight the active participation of private sectors, multinationals and intergovernmental agencies in the Nigerian seed industry.
The new law is in line with the seed certification standards of ECOWAS regulations and establishes a national seed catalog with the ECOWAS catalog of plant species and varieties as a reference.
The seed sector in Nigeria currently has 157 seed companies registered in Nigeria but the majority produce less than 1,000 tonnes of seed per year, according to the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC). The Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria is the country’s leading private seed trading organization, with around 67 registered members. Currently, the private sector accounts for 13% of varieties marketed in the seed market, with the public seed sector constituting the remaining 87%.