Dr. Saaka Buah, an Agronomist at the Wa Station of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) has observed that the use of new improved quality seed among farmers in the Upper West Region is very low.
Dr. Buah who is also the Coordinator of the Research Extension Farmer Linkage Committee (RELC) for the Region said the reason for the low patronage of new improved quality seed among these farmers was that they considered it an expensive venture to go in for.
This, according to the Agronomist, was a misconception because it constituted less than five per cent of the total cost of production.
Dr. Buah made the observation while delivering a presentation on the importance of improved seeds and sources of seeds in Ghana during a two-day training workshop for Seed Growers in the Upper West Region held at Wa on Wednesday.
It was organised by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG) with sponsorship from the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) programme, a USAID funded project.
Dr. Buah said crop varieties were developed for different regions mainly on the basis of rainfall, altitude and temperatures of specific regions but noted that farmers were not aware of these varieties.
He said it was necessary for farmers to know the varieties of seed suitable for their areas and also use certified seed, as the use of uncertified seed may lead to poor germination and low yields.
Dr. Buah said the use of quality seed by farmers would lead to enhanced productivity, reduced risk, provide higher nutrients content in harvested fodder and increased net incomes as well as resistance to pests and diseases.
He mentioned low soil fertility, the sandy texture of soils with low moisture retention capacity as well as low and erratic rainfall as some of the constraints of crop production in the region.
Mr. Kwasi Wih, the Regional Plant Protection officer said the workshop was aimed at enlightening seeds growers on the Plant and Fertilizer Act 2010 (Act 803) as well as educate them on how to produce quality seed.
As to how farmers could benefit from the law, Mr. Wih said the Plant and Fertilizer Act contains regulations that would make sure that farmers were given only quality seed to improve yields.
He said the Act also proposed the establishment of a fund that would be used to build farmer’s capacity for them to increase production.
The Regional Plant Protection Officer expressed the hope that this year government would consider subsidizing seed to enable more farmers to have access to improved seed to increase yield.
Mr. Francis Essuman, ADVANCE Regional Coordinator said farmers were not benefiting from the use of improved seeds because of lack of awareness and other socio-economic constraints.
He said this informed their decision to provide funds for MOFA to train the farmers on how to benefit from improved seeds.