PFAG recommends development of modern seeds with traditional taste

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has recommended the development of modern seeds with traditional taste, attributes and resilience.

The Association says the current seeds being developed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture were hybrid seeds which farmers reject.

Mr Charles Nyaaba, the Programmes Officer of PFAG, speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop, said those modern seeds, when developed, should be made affordable through subsidies.

The Association commissioned a research to ensure that farmers have access to quality inputs leading to high productivity in Ghana.

He said the research showed that a lot of study and seed variety development had been carried out, however, there was emphasis on hybrid varieties at the expense of traditional varieties.

He said farmers interviewed during the study said they preferred traditional seed varieties for a number of reasons.

The Programme Officer said the National Seed Policy indicated that the private sector would need incentives and credit facility to design and procure seed plants suited to their own commercial needs, however, their study showed that most of the policy proposals were still not being implemented.

Mr Nyaaba said many farmers still relied on traditional methods of seed storage despite the fact that those methods were unreliable to crop production.

He said the study indicated that farmers accessed seeds from diverse sources including their own harvest, borrowing from colleague farmers and families and buying.

He said about 53.4 per cent of 528 farmers interviewed obtained seeds from their own harvest, while another 18.8 per cent obtained seeds and planting materials from other farmers.

“Some farmers also complain about the existence of fake certified seeds in the open market,” he said.

Other problems cited were barriers to accessing good quality seeds, unavailability of preferred seeds and poor quality seeds.

He said as a policy recommendation more local seed growers should be trained, especially mid-size farmers, with capacity to sustain production.

“Also policy makers should be cautious in handling GMOs to avoid rejection by farmers and the Ghanaian consumers,” he said.

Mr Nyaaba said government should also build an effective and efficient seed value-chain by making sure the state provided the foundation in terms of infrastructure and breeder seeds.

He said government should scale-up promotional packages using experience of Asian Green Revolution package systems.

On fertilizer, Mr Nyaaba said despite claims that government had subsidised fertilizer, only 31.7 per cent of farmers had benefitted.

He said the inability of farmers to get adequate supply of inputs was generally due to low governmental support, calling on government to set up fertilizer distribution shops to serve cluster of communities, thereby reducing the distance covered to buy both market and subsidised ones.

Madam Sarah Aryee, a farmer, told the GNA that: “l prefer my own traditional seed which will give me more yields compared to the hybrid seeds.”

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