Farmer group cry over infiltration of unregistered seed dealers

By
Dennis Peprah, GNA

Techiman, (BE/R),
Oct 13, GNA – Rural Care Frontiers (RCF), a group of farmers, have expressed
concern over infiltration of unregistered seed dealers in the Bono, Bono East
and Ahafo Regions.

These dealers,
according to the farmers had flooded the market with varieties of fake seeds
majority of the famers could not differentiate between the genuine and fake
seeds.

This is contributing
greatly to low and poor yields, thereby, affecting incomes and socio-economic
livelihoods of the farmers in the three regions.

“We are unable to
pay back loans and this situation is discouraging many of us and the youth from
engaging in farming”, says Mr Charles Boateng, the Chairman of the RCF, a group
comprising 1,810 farmers engaged in various crop productions such as maize,
cashew, rice, cocoa, and vegetables.

In an interview with
the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Mr Boateng expressed worry that the seed dealers
deceived “ignorant farmers” to buy seeds, which had problems during ovulations
and thereby contributed to poor and bad yields.

He called on the
Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to intensify monitoring in the seed
market to flush out the unregistered dealers.

The MOFA must also
identify certified dealers for farmers to buy seeds from them in the local
communities.

According to Mr
Boateng, the forum was in line with a project being implemented by the group to
help remove bottlenecks and challenges confronting small holder farmers.

Titled: “Seed
Dealers, Identified, Registered and Recommended for the General Public”, the
RCF is implementing the 12- month project being funded by the Business Sector
Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC). Total cost of the project is GH¢96,904.50.

Mr Isaac Adaebsah,
the Consultant to the RCF noted the formal seed system in the country faced
several challenges such as high prices, unavailability of seeds at the right
crop seasons, lack of seeds storage facilities.

Research indicates
that the seed supply chain and management at MOFA is bureaucratic because the
sector is involved in registration of seed dealers, cleaning and grading of
seeds, seed inspection and certification and packaging for sales.

All these activities
take place at the regional capitals resulting in service delays to the seed dealers
and consequent loss of productivity.

Mr Adaebsah said the
lack of storage facilities (cold rooms) was a serious problem because studies
showed that seeds not sold at the right period lose their viability over time
thereby, compelling seed growers to either sell their seeds cheaply as grains
or transport their seeds at an additional cost to centres that have cold
storage facilities.

Another challenge,
he mentioned was the lack of training for certified seed dealers and called on
the MOFA to organise regular training for seed dealers and farmers.

Mr Adaebsah called
on government to adequately resource MOFA to train and build the capacity of
local seed producers to enable them produce to meet the local demand rather
than over-relying on imports.

GNA

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