Dr. George Bigirwa, the Deputy Vice President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), has warned seed industry participants to develop high-quality seeds.
He claimed that seeds were essential for both food production and the effort to maintain food security in Africa.
Dr. Bigirwa stated that although Ghana had made significant advancements in its seed industry, the sector needed to be streamlined in order to be in a position to supply the appropriate quantity of seeds to farmers at the appropriate time. He was speaking at the Ghana SeedSAT Recommendation Validation Meeting organized by AGRA in Accra yesterday.
The Seed SAT was an initiative created to evaluate and analyze the functionality of the current seed systems in several sub-Saharan African nations.
In order to make wise investments to close the identified gaps, it was intended to identify the gaps and shortcomings.
The program operated on eight thematic areas, including breeding, variety release, maintenance, early generated seeds, quality commercial seed production, quality assurance, seed markets and distribution, farmer awareness and participation, policy, legal and regulatory requirements, and national planning and coordination. The program was initially implemented in Nigeria and Ethiopia, before being scaled up to include Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, and Kenya.
It brought together major players in the seed industry to discuss pressing problems facing the sector in the nation and to suggest solutions.
Dr. Bigirwa claimed that before the program’s implementation, farmers in the beneficiary countries had to travel about 30 kilometers just to access seeds, but that now the distance is only about eight kilometers.
Therefore, he urged African governments to increase their investments in the seed industry to address the sector’s problems.
The Programme Manager for SeedSAT, Mr Francis Mwatuni, expressed concern that Africa’s seed systems by different public and private actors remained uncoordinated, leading to neglect of certain key elements in the seed sector.
He explained that the SeedSAT initiative, among others, would help bridge the gaps in the sector by partnering various players to address the challenges confronting the sector.
According to Paul Siameh, director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture Extension Service, the government understands the critical role that seeds play in its flagship initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs.
Mrs. Augusta Nyamadi-Clottey, Chief Executive Officer of the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana, reaffirmed the Association’s dedication to the transmission of agriculturally relevant knowledge, particularly the utilization of high-quality seeds to improve food security.
In order to enhance the livelihoods of the agricultural households on the continent, AGRA aims to change African agriculture from a subsistence model to a robust enterprise.