Rural Care Frontiers (RCF), a group of farmers, have expressed concern over infiltration of unregistered seed dealers in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
These dealers, according to the farmers had flooded the market with varieties of fake seeds majority of the famers could not differentiate between the genuine and fake seeds.
This is contributing greatly to low and poor yields, thereby, affecting incomes and socio-economic livelihoods of the farmers in the three regions.
“We are unable to pay back loans and this situation is discouraging many of us and the youth from engaging in farming”, says Mr Charles Boateng, the Chairman of the RCF, a group comprising 1,810 farmers engaged in various crop productions such as maize, cashew, rice, cocoa, and vegetables.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Mr Boateng expressed worry that the seed dealers deceived “ignorant farmers” to buy seeds, which had problems during ovulations and thereby contributed to poor and bad yields.
He called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to intensify monitoring in the seed market to flush out the unregistered dealers.
The MOFA must also identify certified dealers for farmers to buy seeds from them in the local communities.
According to Mr Boateng, the forum was in line with a project being implemented by the group to help remove bottlenecks and challenges confronting small holder farmers.
Titled: “Seed Dealers, Identified, Registered and Recommended for the General Public”, the RCF is implementing the 12- month project being funded by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC). Total cost of the project is GH¢96,904.50.
Mr Isaac Adaebsah, the Consultant to the RCF noted the formal seed system in the country faced several challenges such as high prices, unavailability of seeds at the right crop seasons, lack of seeds storage facilities.
Research indicates that the seed supply chain and management at MOFA is bureaucratic because the sector is involved in registration of seed dealers, cleaning and grading of seeds, seed inspection and certification and packaging for sales.
All these activities take place at the regional capitals resulting in service delays to the seed dealers and consequent loss of productivity.
Mr Adaebsah said the lack of storage facilities (cold rooms) was a serious problem because studies showed that seeds not sold at the right period lose their viability over time thereby, compelling seed growers to either sell their seeds cheaply as grains or transport their seeds at an additional cost to centres that have cold storage facilities.
Another challenge, he mentioned was the lack of training for certified seed dealers and called on the MOFA to organise regular training for seed dealers and farmers.
Mr Adaebsah called on government to adequately resource MOFA to train and build the capacity of local seed producers to enable them produce to meet the local demand rather than over-relying on imports.