We Need To Strengthen Ghana’s Seed Delivery Systems – MP

Mr Bright Demordzi, the Member of Parliament for Bortianor / Ngleshie Amanfro, has called for measures to strengthen the seed delivery systems in Ghana to increase awareness and adoption of new varieties of seeds.

He said in spite of the availability of new varieties of seeds, coupled with the promotional efforts of the government and its development partners, the awareness and adoption of these varieties seemed to be low as a result of weak seed delivery systems in place.

He said to achieve that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture needed to play a supervisory role with minimal direct involvement in the seed sector and leave marketing of seeds solely in the hands of the private sector.

“There is the need for farmer education in local languages about the importance of using certified seeds and hybrid seeds in the media, during field days and demonstrations as well as enhancing the capacity of seed producers to minimize importation of seeds,” he said.

Mr Demordzi, a member of Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, said this at a day’s workshop organized by Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG).

It was in collaboration with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for its members and stakeholders to find ways to operationalize the Plants and Fertilizers Fund in Ghana.

The Plants and Fertilizer Act 2010, Act 803 established the fund to provide financial resources to meet the cost of emergency and phytosanitory situations including compensations in cases of destruction of plants products of the act.

It is also to ensure effective management of seed industry including a national seed security stock and also to undertake research and investigations relating to fertilizers, among others.

Mr Demordzi said in strengthening the seed delivery system there is the need to build more cold rooms, warehouses, and install processing and packaging equipment in the regional and district capitals to facilitate processing of seeds.

These services, he said, could be provided by the government at a fee or provide seed companies with grants to acquire the facilities.

He said agro input dealers should be assisted to open more outlets in rural communities and also be encouraged to package seeds in different weights ranging from one kilogramme to 50 kilogrammes to meet the needs of all categories of farmers.

He appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to facilitate the operationalization of the Plants and Fertilizer Fund to enable stakeholders in the industry to produce more to ensure food security.

Mr Patrick Adintinga Apullah, President of SEEDPAG, said aside all factors involved in Agricultural production, the use of quality or certified seed as well its availability, accessibility and affordability was the most important determinant of the quality of a nation’s agriculture.

He said Ghana’s desire to achieve food security and food self-sufficiency required that adequate quantities of certified seeds of all classes be produced and effectively distributed to farmers in rural areas where the bulk of the food was produced.

“There is also the issue of production of adequate breeder and foundation seeds by both public and private sector. All the players in the seed value chain have their various roles to play to achieve the aim of adequate food production… and this requires funds to support the activities at all levels of the seed chain,” he added.

He expressed his gratitude to AGRA for sponsoring the workshop.

Prof John Ofosu-Anim, the Dean of School of Agriculture, College of Basic and Applied Sciences of the University of Ghana, Legon, said it was important for research institutions to link their findings to the farmers to enhance production.

He said the University of Ghana had done a lot in terms of seed production and it is still doing more and with the assistance from the fund scientists would be able to move to the farmers.

“We in academia have to link up strongly with Ministry of Food and Agriculture so that whatever findings we come out with can be moved to the farmers to enhance food production,” he said.

He said good seed supply could not be an end by itself and urged SEEDPAG to look at how to progress from selling quality seeds to provision of evidence of good crops varieties to improve quality.

“Profit alone should not guide your actions but how to make the seeds affordable, accessible and available to the farmers must be your priority,” he added.

The Plants and Fertilizer Act2010  (Act 803) of the Republic of Ghana was passed by Parliament to provide protection for plants  and control for the handling of seeds and fertilizers and other related matters for the purpose of safeguarding  the country’s public health, agriculture and the environment.

It replaced the old Seed Act of 1972.