Mr William Boakye-Acheampong, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, has called on seed producers to take advantage of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs campaign to produce quality seeds for production.
He said the success of the campaign, launched earlier this year to boost agricultural production, would depend on the availability of quality seeds hence the need for seed producers to improve their operations and supply enough seeds to support the campaign.
Mr Boakye-Acheampong made the call during a five-day training in Tamale for members of the Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG).
The training, aimed at making participants familiar with the rice plant, understand the distinctive and key characters as well as all the basic information of rice varieties, was also to update them on the certification process of seeds to ensure that their seeds met the expected standards.
It (training) formed part of the Rice Seed Scaling project being implemented by AfricaRice with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the participants were drawn from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Ashanti Regions.
It is estimated that quality seeds account for 40 per cent of the yields component of rice and the lack of such quality seeds was the bane for agriculture production in the country.
Dr Roger Kanton, Deputy Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), said it is unacceptable for the country to continue to import huge quantities of rice when she had the favourable climate to produce in abundance.
He said the country produced only 400,000 tons of rice last year compared to up to two million tons produced last year by Mali, a dry country.
He appealed for more investment in the rice sector to ensure increased rice production in the country.
Mr Boubakary Cissé, Seed Expert and Country Coordinator of the Rice Seed Scaling project, said quality seeds and good agricultural practices would ensure that paddy rice produced in the northern parts of the country would be of high quality and comparable to imported ones.
He said rice farmers in the northern parts of the country currently had rice but could not sell because the rice was of low quality, unattractive and could not compete with the imported ones.