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General News of Friday, 20 December 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Planting for Food and Jobs: Government must engage seed suppliers – Specialist


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A seed specialist with ICRISAT Seed Systems Dr Issoufou Kapran has appealed to the government to provide support for private agriculture firms to enable them supply seeds to farmers.

According to Dr Issoufou, an enabling environment created for the private sector will give them the capacity to analyze the various farm lands and markets, recommend and provide seeds to the farmers.

Speaking at the opening day of a two-day forum on the process of marketing seeds of new varieties of groundnuts and other crops on Thursday, Dr Issoufou urged the government to engage stakeholders in the seed distribution chain, train and equip them to effectively supply seeds to the farmers.

This, he believes will help the government enjoy the full benefit of it’s Planting for Food and Jobs objective.

“My understanding of the government’s policy is that they need the private sector to supply seeds to the farmers. So what we are doing here is to support the private sector and strengthen their capacity to analyze the market, invest and supply. If this process is well understood it is going to position the private sector to supply the seed”, he said.

Absence of certified seeds negatively affecting PFJ

Speaking at the same programme, the Director of Crop Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Seth Osei-Akoto announced that the government Planting for Food and Job’s initiative suffered reduced production due to a shortfall in the amount of certified seeds.

He said that securing sufficient quantity of groundnuts seeds has been a headache for the Ministry with 40 metric tonnes deficit of certified groundnut seeds being recorded in 2018.

"For instance, in 2018 the Ministry targeted 50 metric tonnes of certified seeds of groundnut to distributed but ended up obtaining 10 metric tonnes of groundnut seeds distributed and planted," Mr Osei-Akoto said.

"Based on the demand by farmers to have more certified groundnut seeds to be planted in 2019, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture requested for 400 metric tonnes from the seed companies but the suppliers have failed to deliver them".

The workshop was organized by the ICRISAT Seed Systems Team with the support of the AVISA project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Among the 35 participants of the workshop include; plant breeders, staff in seed regulation and quality control, extension workers in the Ministry in charge of agriculture, seed companies, and traders and other players and stakeholders in the national seed system.

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