Woman-led seed company provides jobs to 300 women following support from AGRA

Bruckner Farms, a woman-led seed producing company in the Ejura Sekyedumase Municipality has quadrupled its number of women employees after it received support for its operations from AGRA.

In 2020, the company received a US$72,000 grant from AGRA as part of a USAID initiative to produce and disseminate certified hybrid maize seeds to smallholder farmers.

“When the season is at peak, we employ 300 women a day. And a few men to carry the bags for us… We are very grateful to AGRA… We are able to increase our productivity and (help) the women that we employ,” CEO of the company Martha Bruckner explained.

Employees of the company are equally excited. “At first, we couldn’t take our children to school. But now we earn money working at the seed company and additionally get good yield from growing the hybrid maize seeds,” Fati Karim, a worker at the seed company and a farmer explained.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in September 2020 rolled out the “Strengthening the Ghana Seed System to Enhance Quality Seed Delivery” initiative. The initiative awarded grants to a Certified Seed Consortium made up of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) and six (6) local private seed companies. The overall goal of the award is to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes. It also aims to improve food and nutrition security in Ghana through strengthening the seed system to deliver 6,000 metric tonnes (MT) of high-quality seeds of maize hybrid, cowpea, soybean, and groundnuts to farmers.

Bruckner Farms, a woman-owned seed company, received a grant award of $72,000 to produce and disseminate 528MT of certified seeds of maize hybrid to smallholder farmers and work with other consortium partners to popularize improved seeds.

Martha Bruckner says the hybrid maize seeds developed by the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) which her company has multiplied and is supplying to farmers, is giving them better productivity on their farms. It is also improving the lives of women farmers and others in the enclave. “Apart from it giving us more yield, its increasing employment. It’s giving farmers who buy our seeds more money. District Assembly gets tax. So, it goes round. And the whole country benefits. And when the season is at peak, we employ 300 women a day. And then we sell seeds to the Planting for Food and Jobs Program too,” she explained.

“Because of the support we got from AGRA, we increased our acreage and got in more yield. By increasing our acreage, we also increased our workers. Because of the grant we got, we increased our productivity. This increased our money to be able to buy two tractors and a multipurpose harvester. And we have a planter. And another machine that grates the grains for us,” she said during a visit to her farm by some project officials.

Haruna Atolai who grows a 25 acres maize farm is also commending the quality of hybrid seeds Bruckner Farms supplies. “Now, we have improved seeds from Bruckner Farms. The improved seeds mature early in 3 months. And it’s climate resilient. So even if you have rain for 2 months, it matures well. Now, we don’t wait for 4 to 5 months to harvest,” he observes.

 

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