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Business News of Thursday, 22 June 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Grains Development Board, SARI to help government bolster local seed supply

Government will be collaborating with the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and the Grains Development Board to overcome the deficit in the supply of seeds for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has noted that the next stage of the scheme will engage over 500,000 farmers, up from the current 200,000 in the pilot stage, and the collaboration with these organisations is expected to bolster the supply of seeds.

“To avoid our dependence on foreign seed supply, we are working very closely with two organisations, the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), in the Northern Region and the Grains Development Board in Kumasi to ensure that there is sufficient production of foundation seed which they can then supply to a selected number of seed producers who have a capacity to be able to give us 8,000 metric tonnes of maize seed next year and at least 6,000 metric tonnes of rice seed and 3,000 tonnes each of sorghum and soya so that we will be able to meet our full complement of seed requirement for the 2018 season.”

A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed with these two organisation, followed by a contract to ensure these quantities of seeds will be supplied by March 31, 2018.

Local seed industry was caught unaware

The government has indicated that local seed producers are not producing enough to meet the demand for the Akufo-Addo’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto revealed that government has had to import seeds from neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso to supplement the demand under the programme.

“So far we have realised that the major constraint to Planting for Food and Jobs, in terms of supply, has been the inadequate supply that we have managed to organize from the local seed industry to the extent that we are having to rely on Burkina Faso to supply us with additional supplies of rice, sorghum and soya for distribution to the Northern Sector of this country.”

In Dr. Afriyie Akoto’s view, the local seed industry was caught unaware by the sudden demand which has arisen as a result of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme. “Even with a selected number of farmers, [standing at] 200,000, the local industry has not been up to the task of supplying the full complement of seeds required for this pilot scheme.”

He was speaking at a Panel Discussion on Ghana’s seed sector organized by AGRA in collaboration with International Food Policy Research Institute and Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research in Accra.