The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA)â€ˆhas launched a manual to educate people on procedures for the release and registration of crop varieties in Ghana.
The 35-page manual titled ‘Procedures for Release and Registration of Crop Genetic Material’ seeks to clearly define the sequence of processes, interfaces and responsibilities that are required for the release and registration of crop genetic materials.
Launching the manual, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, said the harmonisation of the procedure would also enable governments in the sub-region to pool their resources to deal with common problems.
He added that the procedures, as defined by the manual, also provided for the establishment of a catalogue of crop genetic materials.
Mr Ahwoi explained that “the variety release and registration procedure that we are launching today is a manifestation of the acceptance, on our part, of new ways of doing things in response to the demands of globalisation.”
These procedures are consistent with Section 43 of Part Two of the Plants and Fertilizer Act, 2010 (Act 803), which provides for the registration of genetic materials, including those developed from outside Ghana.
“In addition to the outlined procedures for the release and registration of genetic materials, the manual also includes protocols for evaluating for Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS); and Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU) for the following crops: maize, rice, cowpea, cassava, yam, sorghum, groundnuts, and sweet-potato as appendices,” he said.
The protocols, he explained, were to provide for standard variety evaluation procedures for either accepting or rejecting a request for the registration of a variety.
He was thus optimistic that the document would be implemented effectively so that the research institutions, policy makers, the private sector, especially farmers, seed growers and potential investors, as well as development partners would benefit from it.
Giving a background of events leading to the launch of this document, Mr Ahwoi said the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) which is a sub-regional agricultural development programme with focus on achieving increases in productivity at the farmer level through the harmonisation of resources for research and development, identified the need for member countries to harmonise a number of national processes with sub-regional frameworks.
He thus explained that the development and release of crop varieties in Ghana had been based on established procedures that would enable all stakeholders to contribute to the decision to approve the release of varieties.
The minister also used the occasion to declare the release of some improved crop varieties developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and recommended by the National Variety Release Committee for commercialisation.