Government asked to formulate comprehensive seed policy
Mr. McKeown Frimpong, President of the Eastern and Greater Regions Seed Growers Association (EGARSGA), on Thursday called on government to formulate a comprehensive seed policy to boost agriculture production in the country.
He said the absence of such a policy had resulted in anomalies in the agriculture sector, encouraging charlatans to operate to the detriment of food security considerations.
Mr Frimpong, who was speaking at of meeting organized by the Business Assistance Fund, for seed producers in Koforidua on Thursday, said Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEPAG), believed that 90 per cent of seeds in the system were not certified owing to the non-effectiveness of the 1972 NRCD Decree 100 in containing anomalies in that sub-sector.
Mr. Cletus Achaab, official of the Seed Inspection Division of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), called for the revamping of the sector to enable it to meet national aspirations.
He said a number of actions had been taken including consultations on the issue that had been factored into a memorandum, which when approved by cabinet could be passed in to law to help eliminate constraints in the sector.
Mr. Achaab said that such a law would seek to encourage private sector to engage in selling of seeds to farmers, especially those in the remote areas where such facilities were needed to tackle poverty.
He said the Ministry was encouraging fertilizer companies in the country to consider marketing certified seeds alongside their traditional products since the two must go hand in hand to achieve the required results.
Mr Achaab appealed to district assemblies to sell seeds directly to farmers as part of the poverty alleviation scheme.
He cited that research findings indicated that with proper application of certified seeds, favourable climate and fertile soil, farmers could increase maize production from the current average of eight bags per acre to nearly 18 bags for the same land size.
On the issue of lack of seed inspectors, which was identified as critical in weeding out counterfeit seeds in the sector, Mr Achaab said efforts were being made to increase the present staff strength of the Inspectorate of 20 to at least 50.
Mr Francis Adzalo, Managing Director of Dela Farms, a seed growing outfit, appealed to the new government to treat problems confronting the seed production sector as a national priority.
Mr Godwin Ocloo, Eastern Regional Director of MOFA, expressed worry that the region did not have effective seed inspection unit.
Seed producers in the Greater Accra and Eastern Regions are engaged in critical talks with MOFA, as to how they could collectively tackle constraints in seed production, considered the most critical factor for sustainable food production in the country.
The depletion and contraction in arable lands globally has necessitated the use of hybrid disease resistant seeds to boost production.
However, unfortunately, in Ghana, less than 10 per cent of the required seeds are currently being produced, yet even with this measly figure, farmers do not patronize them.
This, EGARSGA said was partly responsible for low crop yield in the country.