The 3rd National seed Forum has opened in Accra. It has participation from 5 other African countries and Ghana is playing host.
Stakeholders in the seed sector value chain admitted that there is a strong desire for improved certified seeds by farmers.
The Seed Sector in Ghana has made tremendous growth, particularly in the use of certified improved seeds. Despite these achievements, adoption and utilization of certified seeds is still low among farmers.
The 3rd National Seed Forum is seeking to find ways to address these challenges. With support from AGRA, USAID and the African Seed Access Index (TASAI) the 3rd Forum hosted by the National Seed Council and the National Seed Trade Association Ghana (NASTAG) will lead participants to review Ghana’s seed sector strategy and investment plan.
The Chairman of the National Seed Council, Joseph Wobil said the council has often expressed worry over the direction of the development of the seed industry in Ghana especially at a time when the seed sector is at a crossroad, “while we all battle with government to overcome the sudden onslaught of economic constraints, there is the need to facilitate the conduct of the seed industry to sharpen our focus and apply much sharpened skills and knowledge.
He emphasized that improving the conduct of stakeholders in the sector will “validly and convincingly respond to a big potential of overall quality seed demand that has hardly been touched.
Mr. Joseph Wobil acknowledged the support of AGRA, USAID, the National Seed Trade Association Ghana and the African Seed Access Index (TASAI ) for facilitating the seed industry through knowledge, collaboration and strategic planning which he said will go a long way to address the identified imperatives.
Mr. Wobil was hopeful that at the end of the four-day forum, stakeholders will develop concrete plans that will address challenges of the sector and make the work of farmers much easier.
National Seed Council is hopeful that the four day forum will “offer a period of polishing up and accelerating the fledgling seed industry and address the remaining issues ,which will complementarity address the needs of hardworking farmers, agro industry and the consumers’’.
A Programs Manager at AGRA, Regina Aku Richardson gave a background of Ghana’s seed sector regulations which was launched in May 2013.
The policy describes the elements of the seed system including research and variety development.
The policy she noted “outlines the modalities through which the policy actions will be implemented.
Mrs Richardson mentioned that the forum will also review the gaps that exist in Ghana’s seed plan developed in 2015. She said the seed plan provides the specific actions to be taken to implement the national seed policy.
These action, Mrs. Richardson noted it has been costed, “the expectation is that the effective implementation of these actions would lead to an increase in the availability of affordable quality seeds of improved varieties for farmers in Ghana.
She was optimistic of the outcome of the forum, “this week we are happy to have the professional minds together here with us. We also have experts from across the region to harmonize all these expertise in addition to the findings of the seed set tool’’
The Acting Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate(PPRSD), Eric Bentsil Quaye admitted that Ghana has made progress in its regulatory framework which has yielded significant gains.
Mr. Bentsil Quaye attributed the gains made to the effort put in by NASTAG. He however pointed out that weaknesses that exist in the seed sector must be addressed quickly.
Mr. Bentsil Quaye announced that PPRSD is going to embark on a campaign dubbed “Operation Clean Seedlings to ensure that only quality seedlings are produced by registered nursery operators.
He also announced that “the campaign will enhance farmers’ future investment by ensuring proper marketing of seedlings.
He said “the GIZ MOAP-NW has agreed to support my outfit to kick start inventory of all nursery operators in the operational area and build their capacity to provide quality seedlings’’.
Mr Bentsil Quaye reminded seed value partners to endeavor to fulfill their regulatory and quality assurance obligations of holding “integrity in their various activities as well as renew their existing licenses or certificates for 2022 to PPRSD officers’’.
Participants at the end of the four-day forum will issue a communique that will highlight the challenges and also provide solutions to guide the government in taking steps to improve the seed sector.