Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring access of farmers to quality seeds and planting materials.
He said relevant seed stakeholders needed to make a conscious effort to convince farmers to use certified seeds/seedlings to increase their productivity to obtain raw materials to feed the agro-industries, including the one-district-one-factory initiative.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the second Ghana Seed Business and Networking Forum (SeedLink 2021) on the theme: “Enhancing Utilization of Quality Seed by Every Farmer.”
The two-day meeting is being organised by the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) and the National Seed Council of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The annual summit is a platform for unlocking investment opportunities and addressing the constraints that inhibit the seed industry’s growth in Ghana.
The event brought together experts in the seed value chain to discuss issues that would influence policy development and provide solutions for the challenges in the seed sector to help boost seed-industry businesses for the benefit of farmers.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said MoFA, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and relevant stakeholders were working to ensure that the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) regulations were passed before the close of the year.
This, he said, was to ensure that it was operationalized for plant breeders to have returns on their investments.
“This would call for the use of better seed varieties by farmers to increase their productivity.”
The Minister said despite support from development partners in the agriculture sector, the government recognised that the public and the private sectors were needed to increase economic growth.
There was a need to develop and strengthen the value chains of commodities and harness local resources for the development of the seed sub-sector.
“To boost the Seed Industry in Ghana, therefore, requires significant investments from both the public and private sectors to generate an economically viable and sustainable industry that can produce to meet the demand for certified seeds in Ghana,” Dr Afriyie Akoto stated.
“Ghana is always looking forward to a thriving seed industry that is profitable, supplying appropriate varieties of good quality seeds that would be adopted by farmers to make a significant difference in their livelihoods and the national economy.”
Mr Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi, President NASTAG, said NASTAG was working to develop effective strategies and cost-effective ways to serve the smallholder farmers throughout the country.
Mr Josiah Wobil, Chairman, the National Seed Council, said the Council was proud to observe that NASTAG was leading the national seed industry out of obscurity into a holistic seed sector.
Mr Seth Osei Akoto, National Technical Director, MoFA, speaking to the Ghana News Agency, said there was the need for agricultural transformation through the promotion of business along both the seed and commodity value chains.
Madam Regina Richardson, Programme Officer, Programme Development and Innovation, AGRA, said: “SeedLink 2021 is being held at an opportune moment when the Ghana Seed Sector needs to consolidate the gains made and develop sustainable models to address constraints inhibiting the growth of the seed industry to enhance the use of certified seeds by farmers”.