The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has ratified Nigeria’s membership of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The country adopted the International Seed Treaty or Plant Treaty in November 2000, and this agreement seeks to guarantee food security through conservation and sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
In June 2004, the treaty became open to all members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and any non-member States of the FAO but members of the United States. According to the Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, the effect of this ratification is that Nigeria is now a full-fledged member of the treaty.
Under this agreement, all benefits derived from the use of the genetic resources are to be shared equitably. In addition, it recognizes the rights of farmers and is in line with the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Under the UN, the CBD is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
Nanono emphasized that the treaty would boost agricultural production in the country through capacity building for agricultural scientists.