The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has expressed regret that local seed producers do not have the capacity to meet the demand by the Ministry for the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign.
The Minister noted that it is unfortunate that 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 productivity 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.
Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie 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.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture therefore observed that for this reason, his outfit is ready to collaborate with the relevant institutions in the country to promote local production of quality seeds to meet the huge demand as government seeks to increase the number of farmers enrolled onto the Planting for Food and Jobs next year.
He said currently MOFA was collaborating with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to devise means of increasing their capacities
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto noted that quality improved seeds is the bedrock of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy, stressing that the only way to help farmers increase yields through lower cost of production is for 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 said, felt 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.