The beneficiary farmers of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) programme in the Bono East Region have called on government to build the capacity of local seed producers to empower them to produce more seeds to meet the local demands of farmers.
They observed that the nation’s over-reliance on imported seeds was not the best as that was a threat to the sustainability of the PfFJs in the long term.
More so, the farmers said, adequate funding must be allocated to the Crop Research Institute to enable it to research on new innovations on soil nutrients suitability, improved local seeds, and pest and disease control strategies.
Speaking at a sensitisation workshop, organised by Rural Care Frontiers (RCF), a group of farmers, in the Techiman Municipality, they said, local seeds had high nutritional contents and produced good yields.
Mr. Charles Boateng, the Chairman of the RCF, a group comprising about 1,810 farmers engaged in various crop productions such as maize, cashew, rice, cocoa and vegetables, said the contribution of farmers towards the sustainability of the PfFJs could not be over-emphasised.
He said majority of the farmers in the region preferred local seeds to imported ones, so government must boost local seeds production for farmers.
According to Mr. Boateng, the workshop was in line with a project being implemented by the group to help remove bottlenecks and challenges confronting smallholder farmers.
Titled: “Seed Dealers, Identified, Registered and Recommended for the General Public”, the RCF is implementing the 12-month project being funded by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) at a total cost of GHC96,904.50.
In order to increase production and increase the income level of farmers as well as addressing youth unemployment in the country, there was the need for all stakeholders to get involved in promoting the locally-certified and hybrid seeds to farmers, chiefly those in the rural communities.
Mr. Isaac Adaebsah, the Consultant to the RCF, noted that, Ghana had the potentials to increase food production if only the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) was empowered to carry out its core mandate.
He said adequate measures and resources needs to be allocated for the monitoring and supervision of seed dealers in the country.
Mr. Adaebsah said the seed supply chain and management at the MoFA were bureaucratic as the sector was involved in registration of seed dealers, cleaning and grading of seeds, seed inspection and certification and packaging for sale.
All those activities occur at the Regional Capitals, resulting in service delays to the seed dealers and loss of productivity, he noted.
Mr. Adaebsah said the lack of storage facilities, (cold rooms) was a major constraint facing seed distribution and sale, noting that, seeds not sold over time loses their durability.