About 6,480 farmers from six districts in the Northern Region have been provided with free certified seed starter packs at a seed and technology fair held at Sang in the Mion District.
The fair, held on the theme ‘Getting Certified Seeds to Smallholder Farmers’, saw starter packs including maize, rice and soybean certified improved seeds with appropriate fertilizers and inoculum for soy bean presented to the farmers to increase their yields.
The seed and technology fair, an initiative of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is) is to scale up the ATT project in 12 communities in each of the six districts.
The beneficiary districts are Saboba, Tolon, Mion, Chereponi, West Mamprusi and West Gonja districts.
Speaking at the fair, the Country Representative of CRS, Kris H. Ozar, said the aim of the project was to create awareness about the need for farmers to use certified seed and adapt to new farming methods and practices.
He said the initiative, apart from scaling up the use of certified seeds by farmers is also to help increase the incomes of farmers and address the issue of hunger and malnutrition in rural communities.
He reiterated the commitment of the organization in supporting the smallholder farmers to improve their farming activities to increase yields.
The Deputy Chief of Party IFDC/ATT, Dr. Tara Wood, said the ATT project apart from supporting the seed sector of the country to come out with improved certified seeds for farmers to plant to increase their yields is also helping to address the issue of soil fertility to enable farmers produce health food crops for consumption.
He urged the farmers to adapt new technologies to improve their activities to prevent government form investing in the importation of food crops to feed the nation.
The Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, William Boakye- Acheampong, for his part, commended the ATT project for the support, which, he said, has resulted in the construction of a modern seed laboratory for the Seed Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to ensure that farmers have access to quality certified seeds for planting.
He urged the farmers to also take advantage of the government’s subsidize fertilizer programme to increase their production.
He said, MOFA through the USAID project has received numerous trainings programmes from the USIAD projects to enhance agriculture productivity in the country.
He stressed that the project has also provided a number of motor bikes to motivate the activities of MoFA to improve its work towards achieving sustainable development.
Some of the farmers at the fair expressed their appreciation to the CRS, the USAID ATT project for the support and said it would go a long way to enhance their farming activities and improve their incomes.
They pledged to adapt to the new certified seeds should there be an improvement in this years farming activities.