Agricultural seeds come in different varieties such as celery, broccoli, and carrots. It important that one chooses the type of seed that works well for his or her farmland. Making this choice, however, is not as simple as it sounds, experts say. Some farmers see this as a challenge, especially when trying to choose the best seed that can work optimally on farms and give quality yields.
A professor of plant science and biotechnology, who doubles as President, National Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium, Celestine Aguoru, notes that the benefit of planting a carefully selected seed cannot be overemphasised. This, according to him, is another reason why Nigerian scientists are working hard to further improve seed varieties in the country’s agricultural sector.
Aguoru says the development of the Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea by scientists in Nigeria is a confirmation of scientific expertise in the country, as the improved cowpea seeds have enormous benefits to farmers and consumers. He notes that the development of the PBR Cowpea is also aimed at providing a home grown solution to the country’s pest and diseases problems in agriculture.
Experts observe that in the past, many farmers never cared about the type of seeds that best suit their gardens and the impact of such seeds during the time of harvest. But times have changed, as nowadays it is important for farmers to consider the type of seeds to plant in order to reduce the burden of managing the pesticides and the diseases that affect crops before harvest.
When the right seeds are selected for cultivation, the farmer will have some level of confidence that he will make great produce during the time of harvest, as quality seeds ease farm management and pest control. This is why the selection of seeds for cultivation is an essential exercise for farmers.
But in the process of choosing the right seed for your farm, you should be able to test the type of soil in your farm to enable you identify the best seed that can fit in that soil. Experts say examining the ground can help the farmer to know the best seeds plant. The texture, compaction, conversion and organic content of the soil are the soil test that will enable the farmer to choose the best seeds. When one picks seeds that do not fit their farmland, one ends up making a loss.
Farmers should understand that a wrong choice in seeds selection may force them to use expensive fertilisers, engage in frequent cultivation and adopt various planting methods for the seeds to fit the soil.
Therefore knowing the type of land through soil test will enable one to choose the best seeds for the farm which will increase the chances of getting better yields.
The Director-General, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Vincent Isegbe, says healthy crops are usually products of healthy and quality seeds. He notes that the inability of many Nigerian farmers to export their produce is also due to the use of lesser quality seeds that do not meet relevant international requirements on the health of plants that are meant for export. This development, according to Isegbe, is impeding foreign trade between Nigeria and other countries.
The NAQS boss, therefore, says that local farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain must to strive and meet the standards set by international agricultural bodies with respect to the export of commodities. Isegbe, explains that the country’s foreign trade on agro products is impeded because many countries prohibit the import of agricultural commodities from Nigeria, adding that this is due to contamination of the products and the use of poor seeds by farmers.
The NAQS is an agency of the Federal Government with the mandate to prevent the introduction, establishment and outbreak of animal and zoonotic diseases as well as pests of plants and fisheries and their products. The agency has the authority to police the health integrity of plant, animals and fisheries within the country and the movement of those products across our borders.
Experts further note that farmers should consider the atmosphere of the place where they are doing their farming and know the climate changes all through the year. Once the environment is well understood, they should consider the local seeds that are adaptable to that environment.
The best seeds for your farm will be varieties that have adopted such environment. This will be beneficial because the seeds are resistant to any change in the climate causing no harm to the produce after harvest.
Farmers should also try to know the pathogens and ecological factors that blend in their farming environment to cause disease on their farms.
Experts say diseases in the farm are caused through the right blending of the pathogen, environmental factors, and the right host. Adequate identification of the disease will enable one to choose the best seeds for the farm as well planning for the next season.
Consequently, when selecting the best seeds for your farm, consider the ones that are resistant to diseases and as a result, they will produce better yield with less cost. Try and choose a variety of seeds that are resistant to insects that cause disease on farmlands.
Also, as you select seeds for your farm, consider the variety of seeds that are mutually beneficial towards each other. Choosing these kinds of seeds helps in preventing the side-effects of the attack from the insects and diseases.
Experts say such a choice will increase the quality and quantity of the harvest. For instance, one can choose a combination of seeds where one grows to divert insects from attacking the other, or where it improves the nutritive value of the other.
Farmers are encouraged to choose the best seeds that are in high demand in the market. It is good to choose seeds that will meet peoples demand when you start harvesting your produce.
This will, of course, increase the profit of the farmer, as opposed to the variety that is not on demand in the market. Experts also note that the frequent cultivation of such seeds due to high demand will make the seeds to be resistant to harsh climate, insects, and diseases.