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15.04.2004 Regional News

Scheme for increasing production of hybrid maize initiated

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Kumasi, April 14, GNA- A training scheme designed to build the capacity of seed growers and dealers to develop and increase the production of hybrid maize seeds for the maize industry in the country, has been initiated by Technoserve and its collaborators. The scheme, which takes the form of training workshops and practical demonstrations on pilot plots, also seeks to instil in seed growers requisite skills for guaranteeing quality in hybrid maize seeds they produce.

Mr Victor Antwi, Client Director of Technoserve announced this at the opening of the first in a series of a hybrid maize seed training workshops under the scheme in Kumasi on Wednesday.

Eleven seed growers and five seed inspectors selected from the major maize growing areas of the country are attending the workshop. The workshop is jointly organised by Technoserve and its collaborators including the International Centre for Soil Fertility (IFDC), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Crops Research Institute (CRI) and the Grains and Legumes Development Board. The prime focus of the workshop is to instil in participants, skills for the development and supply of a new high yielding quality protein maize variety known as "Mamaba".

Mr Antwi observed that even though Ghana had the potential of increasing its maize yields, it is unable to do so just because farmers are not certain of maximising any profits.

He attributed farmers' inability to make profits from their farming ventures to the fact that they lacked the requisite technologies and improved seeds but also ensure that they accept and practically use them.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr Christian Adu-Nti, Ashanti Regional Director of MOFA advised seed growers to take advantage of the introduction of the 'Mamaba' hybrid maize to grow more of it to meet the ever-growing demand of farmers.

He, however, cautioned them against compromising quality for the increasing demand of hybrid seeds.

Dr P.Y.K. Sallah, acting Director of the CRI, admitted that even though it is more costly producing hybrids than other varieties, it was still better to make use of hybrids because they have a much higher yield potential.