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Farmer calls for policy to promote hybrid seeds in Ghana

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SeedsGhana urgently needs a policy to promote the production of improved hybrid seeds for the agricultural sector to thrive, Mr Ben Kemetse, a farmer has said.

Mr Kemetse who produces and distributes  seeds with the assistance of Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, following a trip to out-grower and small scale farmers’ fields and processing facilities in an around Ho, by some representatives AGRA.

AGRA seeks to introduce innovative technologies to improve the work of small scale farmers in Africa to upscale their activities, maximize incomes and overcome poverty, a representative of the Alliance explained the GNA.  The Alliance has nothing to do with Genetically Modified seeds.

Mr Kemetse said he was on the verge of quitting the improved hybrid seeds production in 2009 but AGRA threw him a life-line with a grant of 149,000 dollars and has since been supportive of his efforts.

He said between 1998 and 2009 his total seeds production was about 10 tonnes but that rose to 500 tonnes from 2010 to 2011.

Mr Kemetse said AGRA had linked him to the Crop Research Institute (CRI), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (ITTU), West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement and the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) for improved seeds and for sharing information on research application on the field.

He said with an AGRA facilitated loan of 450,000 dollars, he was able to buy equipment and establish a seeds processing plant at Adaklu-Kodzobi, near Ho where he employed 15 permanent staff from the locality.

Mr Kemetse urged the government to encourage state agencies such as the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA to patronize locally made hybrid improved seeds instead of importing them because locally produced seeds had proved to be more resilient to local conditions and were of better quality.

“Locally improved hybrid seeds are conventional seeds, which have absolutely nothing to do with Genetically Modified (GM) Seeds,” he stated.  “GM seeds require very advanced technology and infrastructure to produce.”

Meanwhile, an out-grower of the M& B maize seeds and some small-scale maize farmers, have testified that the locally produced hybrid seeds had proved to be drought and pests resistant and   matured much earlier with higher yields.

Its texture was said to be fine when ground into maize meal.

Source: GNA

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