Country Manager of the Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) Juliette Lampoh – Agroh says its times for Ghana to embrace SeedSAT as a holistic seed system assessment tool that will help close gaps in the seed industry in Ghana and across Africa..
According to her, the initiative is designed to assess and analyze the current seed systems efficiency in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa aimed at identifying the gaps and shortcomings for informed investments to address the identified gaps.
Speaking to journalist at the Ghana SeedSAT recommendations validation meeting in Accra, she said the newly-developed tool has been piloted in other sub-Saharan African countries.
“The assessment had been executed in three of the four targeted countries Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi with Ghana being the latest country to use the tool to strengthen the seed system.
AGRA has been working in this sector for several years and has seen some success by increasing the usage of modified seeds by smallholder farmers from 11% to 30%” she added.
The Director of Agriculture Extension Service at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Paul Siameh said seed is the next important agriculture input after the soil.
He noted that the government’s recognition of the crucial role of seed made it place seed as the first pillar under its flagship programme – the Planting for Food and Jobs.
Mr. Siameh said as a directorate tasked with the dissemination of agricultural and technical knowledge, seed information is one of them and hence, “We will do everything possible to ensure that the proper information on the use of good, improved and viable seeds is encouraged through our various training programmes.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), Augusta Nyamadi-Clottey said seed is the heart of agriculture because, without seed, nothing else would work explaining that the functioning fertiliser is dependent on the quality of seed.
She said despite the limited arable lands and increasing population, the food system must be able to meet the food demands of the population, noting that one of the key ways to achieve that is to use quality seeds.
“Farmers must look out for the right and quality seed to obtain the maximum yield from their farms towards making a profit and feeding the citizenry” she added.
The Programmes Manager for the SeedSAT, Francis Mwatumi leading the actors through an exercise to gather data noted that the tool focuses on the national seed systems and their functionaries as divided into the eight thematic areas.
“The key goal of SeedSAT is to develop a strong understanding of where a national seed system stands relative to best practices, and to develop an investment plan with partners to advance the system in a sustainable manner” he added.