The Deputy Vice President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr. George Bigirwa, has advised Ghanaian farmers to use the right varieties of seeds for planting so as to help them increase their yields.
He said using good varieties of seeds for planting would help to protect the crops against pests and diseases as well as to withstand other environmental factors that affect crop yields.
He has, therefore, charged players in the seeds industry in the country to produce good quality seeds to enable farmers to use such seeds for planting.
Dr. Bigirwa, who was speaking at Ghana SeedSAT Recommendation Validation Meeting organised by AGRA in Accra on June 7, 2022, said although Ghana has made significant strides in its seed industry, the industry needed to be streamlined in order to be in a position to supply the right amount of seeds at the right time for farmers.
The meeting was intended to bring together stakeholders in the seed industry to deliberate on key issues affecting the sector in the country and to propose ways to address such challenges.
The SeedSAT initiative is a new assessment tool to collaboratively undertake in-depth country seed system analysis with governments and other stakeholders leading to improvements that increase the delivery and use of improved varieties of seed.
The tool is intended to leverage, not duplicate, the information aggregated from existing resources and assessments and add additional subject matter expertise to help identify the root cause of deficiencies and inefficiencies and prioritize seed system modifications and investments with strong business cases to raise internal and external funding.
The initiative was originally implemented in two countries—Nigeria and Ethiopia, before it was scaled up to include Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, and Kenya.
The SEEDSAT initiatives operate 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.
The AGRA’s Deputy Vice President said prior to the implementation of the programme, farmers in the beneficiary countries could travel about 30 kilometers before they could access seeds but the initiative had reduced the distance to about 8 kilometers.
For him, the initiative promotes coordinated approaches in addressing the various deficiencies and inefficiencies in the seed system.
Dr. Bigirwa noted that seeds were critical in food production as well as in the drive to ensure food security in Africa, hence urging African governments to invest more in the seed sector to address all the challenges the sector faces.
The Programme Manager for SeedSAT, Mr. Francis Mwatuni, expressed the concern that Africa’s seed systems by different public and private actors remain uncoordinated, leading to the neglect of certain key elements in the seed sector.
He explained that the SeedSAT initiative among others would help to bridge the gaps in the sector by partnering with various players to address the challenges confronting the sector.
Touching on the validation meeting, Mr. Mwatuni said the meeting would enable AGRA and its partners to make recommendations to the government and private sector players to help address the weaknesses in the seed sector.
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.