The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called for the government to do more to create the right conditions for production and uptake of quality seeds in support of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) programme.
It complained about what it said was the low access and utilization of high quality seeds by small holder farmers, especially women, resulting in poor crop yield and returns.
They made the call at a sensitization workshop held in Techiman in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
Mr. Bismark Owusu Tetteh, Programme Officer at PFAG, said limited public investment in infrastructure and poor seed policies were factors responsible for the weak private sector participation in the seed value chain activities.
Their research finding on seeds showed that 84 per cent of farmers in Ghana depended on grains leading to low yields and high level of poverty among them.
He attributed the low uptake to the low capacity of local seed producers, problems in the seed value chain and the lack of information on the part of farmers on the benefits of investing in quality seeds.
“In addition, high cost of producing seeds is limiting private sector participation in seed production as a profitable venture.”
He noted that the reliance on imported seeds for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, last year, affected the output due to incompatibility of imported seeds with the local environment.
Mr. Owusu Tetteh commended the government for taking bold steps to increase investment under the PFJ.
He, however, underlined the need to do proper evaluation to make sure that there was value for money in all the agricultural investments.
Mr. Abdulai Mugis, an Agronomist and a seed producer, said it was important to support the local seed grower to thrive.
Madam Adwoa Manu, a 39-year old farmer, who has been growing maize, pepper and cassava at Adiesu near Techiman, expressed discomfort with the delay in seeds supply under the PFJ, during the last farming season.
That affected her production and things were made worse by the fall army worms attack on her farm.
Mr. Duncan Amoah, PFAG Representative in Volta Region, who is also a member of National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), was upbeat that certified seed production could hit 40 per cent if research efforts were boosted.