The Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has assured that government is engaging all stakeholders in the agriculture sector to ensure the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) regulations are passed before the end of 2021.
The Plant Variety Protection bill seeks to establish a legal framework to protect the rights of breeders of new varieties of plants or plant groupings as well as promote the breeding of new varieties of plants in Ghana, and was passed in 2020 – awaiting the regulations which are yet to be passed.
Assuring farmers and members of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) that the regulations will be passed soon, Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the document is needed to protect plant-breeders in the country.
“The Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, CSIR, NASTAG, MoFA as well as relevant stakeholders are working hard to ensure that the PVP regulations are passed before close of the year, so that plant-breeders will have returns on their investment,” Dr. Afriyie Akoto said in a speech read on his behalf at the 2nd Ghana Seed Business and Networking Forum in Accra.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto expressed optimism that the regulations, when passed, will encourage the usage of better seed varieties by farmers to increase their productivity.
Outlining some measures taken by government to supply quality seeds to farmers, Dr. Afriyie Akoto announced that as at September this year, 6,764mt of hybrid maize seeds have been distributed.
He added that 4,525mt of OPV maize seeds were also shared to farmers within the same period. “Also, 16,382mt representing 91% and 4,126mt representing 88% of rice and soyabean seeds have been distributed respectively,” he said, adding that with regard to vegetables 260,000 sachets have been distributed and used by farmers in Ghana.
He stated that government under the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa programme is not only supporting seed production of tomato, rice and soyabean, but also providing a 50% interest rate subsidy for producers, aggregators and processors of these commodities.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto emphasised a need to drive the seed-breeders’ campaign through the private sector to create jobs along the value chain. “To boost the seed industry in Ghana, there must be significant investment from both the public and private sectors to generate an economically viable and sustainable industry that can produce to meet the demand for certified seeds in Ghana.”
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of NASTAG, Augusta Nyamadi Clottey, said participants have been educated on the Plant Variety Protection Law and the need to push for passage of the regulation before the end of 2021.
“Industry players in the seed sector have been sharing their expertise on topical issues: such as sustainable models for agricultural financing; the status of the Plant Varietal Protection Law and its implication for the seed sector; the contribution of the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign to seed production and food and nutrition security; and the private and government sectors’ perspectives on seed trade, among many others,” she said.
She added that selected industry players were also given an opportunity to showcase their latest products, services and technology – making them available to stakeholders in the seed industry.