Friday 6th July, 2012Printable Version
Tamale, July 6, GNA – Mr Zakaria Iddrisu, Northern Region President of the Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG), has expressed fears of the possible collapse of the seed industry unless importation of the product is stopped.
He said government was encouraging farmers to use imported seeds to the neglect of the local processed seeds, which was defeating the campaign to encourage people to patronise made in Ghana products.
He said in 2011 for instance, some 973.87 metric tons of seeds were going waste at the warehouse of the Seed Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the region because farmers did not make use of them.
Mr Iddrisu said this in Tamale during a day’s workshop on seed and fertiliser production for Agro Input Dealers and Suppliers.
The Ghana Agricultural Associations Business and Information Centre organised the workshop with sponsorship from the Danish International Development Agency and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
Participants discussed among other issues, facilitation and regulation of the agro-inputs sub-sector, availability of stock quantities and volumes, price offers, distribution networks, experiences, challenges, constraints in the business and plans for the season.
He mentioned the seeds that were going waste in the region as maize (hybrid), maize OPV, soyabeans, and rice.
Mr Iddrisu also expressed regret that due to the low investment in the seed industry the sector in the region was producing less than 10 percent of the country’s seed requirement.
He said since the government introduced the bullock farming system three years ago, farmers are supplied with the imported seeds and that it was necessary for the government to encourage the use of the locally processed seeds to enhance productivity.
According to him, “Seed is the number one agricultural input because both the plant population and yield depends on its quality; we have an industry that is confronted with numerous challenges”.
He said erratic rainfall pattern, floods, drought, lack of efficient processing units as well as lack of adaptation to seed quality, access to credit facilities, poor storage facilities, transportation system and marketing were the major factors militating against the effective production of quality seeds in the region.
He condemned the manner in which some public officials were allegedly giving out grains to farmers as seeds for planting, which accounted for poor yield.
“As a country we do not have a one year seed security which is pathetic. Imagine as a country if we are confronted with drought or excessive flooding for one year, do we have enough seeds for planting?” he lamented.
Mr Vincent Afram, Seed Inspector at the Plant Protection and Regional Services Division (PPRSD) of MOFA in Tamale, stressed the need for the formulation of a code of conduct for the distribution of agro inputs.
He said it was important for agro input dealers to register with the PPRSD, so as to make it easier to check and deal with fake agro input dealers in the system.
Madam Leticia Abaluk, a Sales Agronomist of Yara Ghana Limited, a Norwegian company that is into fertiliser production in Tamale, mentioned transportation, poor road network and the non-availability of pass books for farmers as challenges of farmers’ easy access to fertilisers.