Madam Juliette Lampoh-Agroh, Ghana’s Country Manager for AGRA, said, though small holder farmers now have access to improved seeds and use them, only 30 per cent of their population use these seeds.
“Productivity is still low and the use of improved seeds is still very low in Ghana particularly by smallholder farmers, from 11 to 30 per cent. And if we invest properly in the seed sector, the productivity of smallholder farmers can drive all aspects of the agriculture sector,” she said.
The Country Manager said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during the Ghana Seed System Assessment Tool (SeedSAT) recommendations validation meeting.
The meeting was to help technocrats from AGRA and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), seed researchers and seed sector operators in the country to assess the functionality of Ghana’s seed sector and grade Ghana’s performance in improving seed in eight thematic areas.
These areas include: breeding, variety release and maintenance; early generation seed; quality commercial seed production and quality assurance.
The rest are: seed markets and distribution; farmer awareness and participation; policy, legal regulation, and national planning and coordination.
Madam Lampoh-Agroh said Ghana’s score across the areas was about 56 per cent, indicating that there was more work to be done.
She said investment in seeds was more profitable if the right technology with the right agronomic practices were applied.
Mr Paul Siameh, Director, Agric Extension Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, told the GNA that the government recognized the importance of seed and had invested in improved seeds through the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
He said, ” seed information is one of the agriculture technical knowledge and as a directorate we would continue to disseminate information on the use of improved seeds during our training programmes”
Mrs Augusta Nyamadi-Clottey, Chief Executive Officer, National Seed Trade Association of Ghana, said quality seeds were really important especially with farmlands being destroyed and developed into estates against the increasing population.
She said the successes and challenges of the sector presented an opportunity to plan and coordinate effectively to meet the needs of the Ghanaian farmer.
“Seeds are now affordable and the onus lies on the value chain actors to work together and make the seeds available at the right time and of the right price,” Mrs Nyamadi-Clottey added.