Madam Victoria Adongo, the Programme Co-ordinator of Peasant Farmers Association, Ghana (PFAG), has called on Parliament to implement policies that will enable farmers to have access to quality seedlings.
She said this was important as certain clauses in the Plant Breeders Bill (PBB) were not favourable to local breeders which, if not addressed, would collapse the local seed industry.
Some of the clauses under the Bill protects foreign breeders and gave them the patent to bring in their own seed which could affect the local seed industry and farmers greatly, Ms Adongo said.
Madam Adongo made the call at an inception meeting to discuss farmers’ access to quality inputs.
She said Ghana needed to be innovative to ensure that the local researchers, local seed producers and traders, seed multipliers, and local seed companies were protected.
Madam Adongo said aside land and fertilizer the farmers needed basic units of land propagation, the most crucial input to agricultural production, adding that its scarcity made it difficult for farmers to engage in any farming activity.
Local seeds need to be improved and revamped, Ms Adongo said, adding “we cannot depend on other countries for all of our needs, we need to be innovative and come up with lasting ideas that would help grow the local industry, if not we will always be marking time”.
She said the PFAG was not against the intellectual property of researchers and also not against the PBB, but the clauses must be checked to strengthen the local seed industry.
She therefore called on all stakeholders to come together to enhance the Bill for the betterment of all peasant farmers while improving food security in Ghana.
Mr Charles Nyaaba, the Programme Officer of PFAG, said the project would make it possible for local seed growers to grow enough good quality seeds that would enhance their farming activities.
This is a two-year project supported by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa to help build the capacity of farmers to grow seed and supply them at an affordable price.
It is also to educate them on how they can access and use agro chemicals at a reduced cost without it affecting their health.