The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has said it is putting in place measures to enable the country participate actively in the global seed market, which is expected to reach a value of US$86billion by 2022.
Agric Minister Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto explained that government is currently working on creating the legal, policy and regulatory environment, as well as parliamentary approval for the establishment of Ghana Seed Regulations – a draft of which, he added, has been finalised.
“We have also been conducting consultations on other seed sector-enhancing pieces of legislation and strategy, such as the passage of the Plant Breeders Rights’ bill and implementation of the National Seed Plan. No doubt, the coming into force of these instruments would go a long way to attract more private sector participation and investment in the seed value chain, to strengthen and make the local seed industry more profitable and competitive,” he said.
Dr. Afriyie was speaking at the 2018 National Seed Value Chain Businesses Networking Forum in Accra, held under the theme ‘Vibrant local seed industry: strengthened seed value chain linkages through public-private dialogue’.
He also said the National Seed Council has been reconstituted and is headed by Josiah Wobil, a private sector international seed expert tasked with the responsibility of overseeing development of the seed sector.
The success of key government initiatives such as the One village, One Dam; One District, One Factory, among others “is without doubt dependent on the quality of planting materials and seeds our farmers apply”.
Thomas Wilfred Havor, President of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), explained that the establishment of a vibrant local seed industry, to a large extent, rests with the farmer – and especially the smallholder farmers who contribute more that 70 percent to local food production.
“We all acknowledge the fact that rapid transformation of the seed industry holds the key to meeting the needs of modern agriculture in attaining credible food security & nutrition, employment generation, reduced poverty and enhanced livelihoods.”
He added: “To fulfil objectives of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative by way of creating jobs, the private seed sector will continue to step up its efforts at clearly defining the seed value chain, starting from production, to meet the demands of the initiative and sustain the momentum for seed sector development in the future – and even meet international seed demands, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
“This, however, can only be successful through respectable and healthy relationships with government and other partners, prioritising the smallholder seed producers’ needs and those of the entire local seed sector in ensuring provision of high quality seeds for the PFJ and beyond.”
The two-day event was organised by NASTAG, in partnership with USAID Feed the Future, Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer Project (ATT), and Agriculture Policy Support Project.