The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has expressed regret that local seed producers in Ghana do not have the capacity to meet the demand by the Ministry for its Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
Dr Akoto noted that it was unfortunate that government had to import seeds from neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso to supplement the huge demand under government’s flagship policy geared towards increasing food production in the country.
“It was unfortunate that when seed dealers in Ghana were challenged to supply us with adequate seeds for our farmers, they were found wanting. We have had to import seeds from sister countries because we were in urgent need of them,” the Minister lamented.
He made these remarks at a Panel Discussion on Ghana’s Seed Sector organised by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra on Tuesday, June 20.
Dr Akoto observed that for this reason, his ministry was ready to collaborate with the relevant institutions in the country to promote local production of quality seeds to meet the huge demand as government seeks to increase the number of farmers enrolled onto the Planting for Food and Jobs programme next year.
He said currently MOFA was collaborating with the CSIR and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to devise means of increasing their capacities for large-scale seed production.
Dr Akoto noted that quality improved seeds was the bedrock of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, stressing that the only way to help farmers increase yields through lower cost of production is for government to support them with the provision of quality seeds and inputs.
“Currently, only 11 per cent of farmers in Ghana use improved quality seeds for production, a figure he said fell far below average for a country like Ghana that had the potential to produce enough to feed the West African markets and beyond,” he added
The panel discussion brought together researchers, development partners, and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.