Agric Ministry develops framework to regulate seed production

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Mr Seth Osei Akoto (left), the acting Director, Directorate of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), addressing participants in the 2018 National Seed Value Chain Business Networking Forum. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Mr Seth Osei Akoto (left), the acting Director, Directorate of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), addressing participants in the 2018 National Seed Value Chain Business Networking Forum. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

A regulatory framework is being developed to guide and enforce standards for seed production in the country.

Dubbed the Ghana Seed Regulatory Framework, the document provides standards and specific regulations for crops such as maize, rice, sorghum and soya beans.

The framework is to ensure that only certified seeds are produced and marketed in the country.

It will further provide sanctions for companies which produce or use fake and unapproved seeds.

The framework is in consonance with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Seed Regulation that requires nation states to harmonise seed regulations to ensure quality assurance.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who announced this in Accra yesterday, said some changes were being made to a draft copy of the document for ratification by Parliament before the end of this year.

Forum

The occasion was the opening session of a two-day National Seed Value Chain Business Networking forum and the announcement was contained in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Director of Crop Services Directorate of MoFA, Mr Seth Osei Akoto.

The forum, which was to discuss the way forward to building a strong seed sector, drew participants from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), private sector entities, donor agencies and other stakeholders.

It was organised by the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It was held on the theme: “Vibrant local seed industry: strengthening seed value chain linkages through public-private dialogue.”

Issues of concern for discussion ranged from arrangements for seed production, quality assurance in the seed industry, enhancing dialogue between the public and private sectors, to establishing effective linkages with research institutions.

Seed sector key

Dr Akoto said a vibrant local seed industry was key to the realisation of the government’s planting for food and jobs (PFJ) agriculture policy.

On that score, he called on private actors in the seed sector to form strategic partnerships to be able to engage in fruitful dialogue with the government to build the seed sector.

He urged the participants in the forum to come up with useful suggestions and recommendations that would help to improve the PFJ policy.

Dr Akoto reiterated that MoFA had put in place surveillance mechanisms to be able to respond to threats that the Fall ArmyWorms would pose to crops this planting season.

Diligence

The Chairman of the National Seed Council, Mr Josiah Wobil, described the theme as apt, noting that the National Seed Policy of 2013 puts the responsibility on the private sector to handle the commercial component of seed production.

He asked local seed producers to work diligently to produce certified seeds that would help sustain the local economy.

Mr Wobil said the Seed Council would support NASTAG to build the capacity of its members and also facilitate access to institutional credit and incentives to boost the local seed sector.

PFJ good

The President of NASTAG, Mr Thomas Wilfred Havor, for his part, stated that the PFJ policy was a viable opportunity for local seed producers to up their game and cooperate with the government to improve the agricultural sector.

“We need to take seed production and its accompanying processes such as cleaning, storage, packaging, labelling and marketing along the value chain seriously,” he advised.