The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has signed on some seed growers to serve as ‘back-ups’ in the provision of seeds for the government’s flagship agricultural programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The services of the seed growers, numbering between 300 and 500, will be relevant in the event that the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) and the Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SPAG) are unable to meet the increasing demand for seeds for the coming farming season.
The acting Executive Director of the Grains and Legumes Development Board, Dr Robert Agyeibi Asuboah, disclosed this at a meeting on seed policy with seed growers and other actors in the seed value chain in Kumasi yesterday.
The National Seed Reforms document, also known as the Seed Policy or plan, has been in existence since 2013 but most farmers are unaware of its existence.
As a result, NASTAG, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Agriculture Policy Support Project, brought together the participants to acquaint themselves with the policy to enable them to operate within its confines.
Known as the Plant and Fertiliser Act 2010 (Act 803), it is to ensure a well-coordinated, comprehensive and private-sector driven and sustainable seed industry in Ghana.
The policy, which also defines clearly the boundaries of the operations of the actors, also looks at seed certification, marketing and security for the overall development of agriculture in Ghana.
Dr Asuboah, who is also a seed technologist and pathologist, said the government was assessing all aggregated seed growers plus individuals, with the sole aim of making the flagship agricultural initiative sustainable.
The President of NASTAG, Mr Thomas Havor, said there was the need to consider other varieties of crops in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, instead of focusing mainly on maize.
Much as he agreed that maize was the main staple in Ghana, he was of the opinion that “growers should be encouraged to direct their energies at other crops”.