Stakeholders urged to produce quality seeds

The Deputy Vice President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr George Bigirwa, has admonished stakeholders in the seed industry to produce quality seeds.

According to him, seeds were critical in food production as well as in the drive to ensure food security in Africa.

Dr Bigirwa, who was speaking at Ghana SeedSAT Recommendation Validation Meeting organised by AGRA in Accra yesterday, said although Ghana had made significant strides in its seed industry, the industry needed to be streamlined to be in the position to supply the right amount of seeds at the right time for farmers.

The Seed SAT was an initiative designed to assess and analyse the current seed systems functionality in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

It was aimed at identifying the gaps and shortcomings for informed investment to address the identified gaps.

The initiative originally was implemented in two countries, Nigeria and Ethiopia, before it was scaled up to include Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, and Kenya, and it operated on eight thematic areas—breeding, variety release, maintenance, early generated seeds, quality commercial seed production, quality assurance, seed markets and distribution, farmer awareness and participation, policy, legal and regulatory, and national planning and coordination.

It brought together stakeholders in the seed industry to deliberate on key issues affecting the sector in the country and also to propose ways to address such challenges.

Dr Bigirwa said prior to the implementation of the programme, farmers in the beneficiary countries travelled about 30 kilometres just to get access to seeds, but the initiative had reduced the distance to about eight kilometres.

He, therefore, urged African governments to invest more in the seed sector to address the challenges the sector faced.

The Programme Manager for SeedSAT, Mr Francis Mwatuni, expressed concern that Africa’s seed systems by different public and private actors remained uncoordinated, leading to neglect of certain key elements in the seed sector.

He explained that the SeedSAT initiative, among others, would help bridge the gaps in the sector by partnering various players to address the challenges confronting the sector.

Director of Agriculture Extension Service at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Paul Siameh, said that the government recognised the crucial role of seeds in its flagship Planting for Food and Job’s programme.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana, Mrs Augusta Nyamadi-Clottey, pledged the Association’s commitment in the dissemination of agric-related information, including the use of good seeds to enhance food security.

AGRA is an organisation that seeks to transform African agriculture from a subsistence model to strong businesses that improve the livelihoods of the continent’s farming households.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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