The Upper East Regional Seed Growers Association on Thursday called on the Government to increase support for the industry as challenges of poor soils and low rain fall were overwhelming.
Mr Martin Ariku Akudugu, the Secretary of the Association, on behalf of the members, said the industry was faced with challenges of marketing and competition due to infiltration of foreign and uncertified seeds and poor yield.
Mr Akudugu who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, said the dosage of five bags of fertilizer per acre input for growing local seeds as recommended for seed growers by the Seed Inspectorate of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and stakeholders had outlived its usefulness in the challenging times of climatic conditions and poor soils.
He said soil analysis cost GHC50.00 per every analysis per acre, which he noted was expensive for seed growers, especially if they had to conduct more of such tests on a larger land space.
He therefore called for effective soil sample analysis and techniques to determine the quality of soils and the required input supply of manure to ensure improved yields.
Referring to the Ghana Seed Policy, which was developed to propel action to transform the seed industry to meet the needs of modern agriculture, he said the policy had not taken effect.
He said the over thirty years policy document which was still in use had outlived its usefulness in modern day agriculture and called for its review in the face of the poor climatic conditions farmers had to deal with.
He urged government to equip seed growers to be able to produce, saying when the capacity of members were built, it would inure to increased production of quality seeds for farmers, increase food production and provide avenue for job creation for the youth.
He noted that the expensive foreign hybrid seeds in the Ghanaian markets were being patronized despite its high cost because it gave good yields and reiterated that it was killing the local industry.
Mr Akudugu who expressed gratitude to the government for the 50 per cent fertilizer subsidy, suggested that it be made available and accessible to all farmers.
Mr Akudugu advised farmers to patronize early maturing and drought tolerant seed varieties in order to increase production.
He also commended government for the ‘planting for food programme’ and urged beneficiaries to rely on the seed industry in Ghana.
Mr Patrick Yensingit ,the Agriculture Officer in charge of the Seed Inspectorate of MoFA in the Bolgatanga Municipality, who also spoke in an interview, enumerated activities Agric Officers carried out with seed growers including training, land preparation and direction on sorting of seeds.
He advised farmers to buy improved and quality seeds from registered seed dealers to improve yields.
Mr Yensingit called for more extension staff to support the Seed Inspectorate Unit of MoFA and also for transport to monitor activities for seed growers.