The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has hinted that government is ready to collaborate with the relevant institutions in the country to promote local production of quality seeds to meet the huge demand.
This is expected to complement government’s effort as it seeks to increase the number of farmers enrolled onto the Planting for Food and Jobs, in 2018.
To this end, he said MoFA is currently collaborating with the Grains and Legumes Development Board and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to devise means of increasing their capacity.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) seeking the production of 8000 metric tons of seeds by 2018, is soon expected to be concluded, between MoFA and the two institutions.
The development follows revelations by the Minister that “local seed producers do not have the capacity to meet the demand by the Ministry for the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign.”
He said it is unfortunate that the government has had to import seeds from neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso to supplement the huge demand under the Government’s flagship policy geared towards increasing food production in the country.
“It was unfortunate that when seed dealers in Ghana were challenged to supply us with adequate seeds for our farmers, they were found wanting. We have had to import seeds from sister countries because we were in urgent need of them,” the Minister lamented.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto made these remarks at a Panel Discussion on Ghana’s Seed Sector organized by AGRA in collaboration with International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra.
He noted that quality improved seeds are the bedrock of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy. He added that the only way to help farmers increase yields through lower cost of production is for the government to support them with the provision of quality seeds and inputs.
“Currently, only 11% of farmers in Ghana use improved quality seeds for production, a figure he observed, falls far below average for a country like Ghana that has the potential to produce enough to feed the West African markets and beyond”.
The Panel Discussion brought together research institutes, development partners, and other stakeholders.