The Faculty of Agriculture of the University for Development Studies (UDS) has begun commercial production of certified seeds to feed farmers, and to enhance food security in the country.
The department has acquired 1,000 acres of land at Damongo in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region for that purpose.
The project will help farmers access seed in soy beans, maize, yam, as well other grains and vegetables to increase yields and generate more revenue.
The Principal Technician for the project and a lecture, Dr Alexander Deng Faalong , told the B&FT that: “the seed production is to complement government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs, to whip up the interest of the youth in farming”.
He said access to quality seeds for farming in the country has been a challenge despite efforts being made government and the private sector.
“The dwindling of the sector is due to the sale of uncertified seeds to the farmers, leading to post harvest loses, hence the acquisition of the land for the seed production to support farming activities,” he added.
The project, he noted, has secured 60 per cent grant from the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) over a one-year period for the production of quality seeds for the farmers in the country.
He stressed that the recent pilot project targeted 40 farmers across the districts to showcase the opportunities in the sector and also sensitise them on the need to adapt to the technology to boost the farm produce.
“The department also cultivated over 40 acres of land on maize and soybean expecting to harvest over 200 bags and would cultivate over 100 acres in 2018” he said.
According to Dr Faalong, the faculty needed tractors to plough the land to commence production for the farmers.
Touching on the fall army warm, he said the department was able to use control measures to prevent the infestation of the worms, and so they expect to harvest over 200 bags of maize from the 40 acres of land.
Dr Deng advised farmers to desist from applying chemicals on their crops which is harmful to human health.
Mr. William Danquah, a Field Assistant, said lack of funds is hampering activities and therefore appealed to donor agencies and government for support to produce quality seeds for the farmers in the country.
He also stressed the need for more training to be provided to the farmers and the Agricultural Extension Agents (AEA) to ensure the right things are done to increase yields.
He advised the farmers to ensure cultivating during the raining season to get the maximum yield.
Mr. Dery Mark, a farmer, expressed gratitude to the department for the initiative, saying it would encourage young people to venture into farming.