The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) is demanding more support from government for the local seed industry to ensure food security.
President of NASTAG Thomas Havor says better resourced seed companies will supply improved seed varieties to farmers and this will result in highercrop yields to meet the increasing demand for food.
The seed producers want the government to prioritise them under its Planting for Food and Jobs Programme to ensure success. Mr. Havor is particularly asking government to implement provisions in the Plants and Fertiliser Act 2010 requiring that a fund is established to support seed industry. “More funds are needed to support research, maintain laboratories, train young scientist and help with the development of new seed varieties,” he explained.
“Right now, all the old people are going on retirement. That is why human resource is such a major issue in the research stations and universities. Because there is no money. But if funds are available, it will bring in enough money to take care of that,” Mr. Havorsaid in an interview
It will be recalled that Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie recently expressed disappointment over the inability of local seed producing companies to provide enough seeds for supply to farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme. Government had to import seedls from Burkina Faso for farmers.
But Mr. Havor says they cannot be blamed for this because government did not involve them in the programme early enough. “When the government started making plans to do this programme, they did not involve the stakeholders. So by the time they launched this programme, the season in the south had already gone before they began to involve the seed producers,” he explained.
Mr. Havor however says increased support to seed producing companies will help them meet local needs without having to rely on external support.
Currently, only about 11 percent of farmers use improved certified seeds for production and the National Seed Trade Association is hoping to increase this to 25 percent within the next five years. They are asking for government’s support if this dream will come into fruition.