Wa, Feb 21. GNA – Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG) in the Upper West Region has called on the government to liberalize the production of foundation seeds for farmers.
The Association questioned the rationale behind the importation of seeds from South Africa and Brazil stating that the seed industry in Ghana needs attention from government to enable it to develop.
Naa Bawa Seidu, Upper West regional president of SEEDPAG made the call at a press conference held in Wa on Monday which was under the theme ‘Liberalization of Foundation Seed Production in Ghana.
Naa Seidu noted that the Grains and Legumes Development Board was the only institution mandated by government to produce foundation seed in the country but which research showed that it had not got the capacity to produce adequate foundation seeds.
He stated that in 2009/2010 cropping season foundation seed for maize was in short supply whiles Soya was recycled for distribution to the farmers.
Also from 2010 up to date some varieties such as Apagbala (cowpea), Jingumo (Soya) and rice had virtually gone out of production by the Grains and Legumes Development Board for supplies to seed producers.
Naa Seidu also stated that in 2011, 800 mini bags of Pan 53 maize seed was brought from South Africa for farmers to cultivate block farms in the Upper West Region but the maize arrived in the middle of the cropping season and so they could not be used.
He said 800 mini bags of maize were still in the ware house of the Upper West SEEDPAG occupying space as it could not be disposed off or even be consumed by livestock because it was treated with poisonous chemical.
‘The seed industry has varied and multiple challenges facing it which need immediate attention and solutions so that the members of SEEDPAG, the Agric Research Institute , MOFA, and our peasant farmers are not put out of the seed production which eventually increase yield substantially ‘ he stated Naa Seidu noted that with the sort of monopoly and challenges’ facing the Grains and Legumes Development Board in terms of logistics and output, the only way out was for the liberation of the production of foundation seed in Ghana.
He called on government to recognize institutions such as Research stations and private Ghanaians seed companies that had the capacity to produce foundation seed.
Naa Seidu appealed to Parliament to amend the Plant and Fertilizer Bill to help authorize researchers to produce foundation seed to meet the requirement of farmers engaged in seed production in Ghana.