‘Ghana needs plant variety protection law’

Ghana has no plant variety protection law and so breeders lack the opportunity to patent their newly developed crop varieties, an official of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has said.

Dr. Dorothy Effa, Assistant Director, in-charge of Policy Planning and Budget Directorate, said an unprotected plant variety development system was not attractive for private investment and called for strong advocacy for the passage of a plant variety protection law in Ghana.

A GNA report said she made the remarks when she presented an overview of Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA) implementation in Ghana at a two-day national stakeholders’ workshop organised by MoFA and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa.

The workshop was to identify and address issues in the fertiliser industry to help sustain agricultural production and food security.

Participants are expected to make recommendations that would make the implementation of the national fertiliser policy very effective.

Dr. Effa said education and sensitisation of all stakeholders to understand the purpose of the plant Breeders Bill was very necessary so that they would support the passage of the bill.

She said there had been protracted delay in the approval of the seed regulations since the passage of the Plants and Fertiliser Act 2010 (Act 803).

This implied that there was weak and inefficient implementation of the Seed Law since its passage in 2010 as well as weak enforcement of the seed inspection and certification standards limits ECOWAS trade in seeds, she said.

She said there was the need to equally advocate for the coming into force of the Draft Harmonised Seed Regulations, facilitate operationali-sation of the National Seed Council and provide technical assistance to the National Seed Inspection division of Plant Protection Regulatory Services Directorate.

It was also important to facilitate the development of efficient procedures and processes for accreditation of private seed enterprises for inspection and certification services, Dr. Effa noted.

According to her, there was adulterated and fake fertilisers, and farmers experienced low yield as a result of using fake and adulterated fertiliser.

She called for the provision of technical assistance for the improvement of the Quality Assurance System across the Fertiliser Supply System.

She added that despite the existence of the Weights and Measures Decree (1975), there was limited use of Grades and Standards and Weights and Measures in marketing of staple agricultural commodities.

This, she said, led to unfair trade among small-scale operators, which affected Ghana’s trade within ECOWAS countries, which enforce the use of standard measures.

As a result, it does not provide transparency in the staple crop marketing along the value chain, create awareness on the existence and content of the weights and measures decree (1975) and affects Ghana’s trade within ECOWAS which enforces the use of standard measures.

It does not provide transparency in the staple crop marketing along the value chain.

Dr. Effa said there was no law to back the use of warehouse receipts as securities which could be held by the bank.

She said traders and farmers could not use their warehouse receipts as collaterals to access funds, and advocated for a law to back the use of warehouse receipts as collaterals at the banks.

MIRA is a five-year initiative by AGRA to support African countries to find solutions that will lead to increased private investment in small- and medium sized agribusinesses.

MIRA will facilitate access to high quality technical assistance for identifying, prioritising and reforming specific agricultural regulations, policies.

It is being implemented in five focal countries, namely, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.

MIRA is demand-driven, and therefore countries are expected to come up with country specific challenges (policies, regulations and administrative practices) hindering private investment, that the MIRA can help address.

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