Some vegetable farmers within the Asokwa Municipality of the Ashanti Region have renewed calls for stakeholders in Ghana’s agricultural sector to develop a sustainable plan to produce quality seeds locally to avoid the over-reliance on importation of seeds.
Researchers at the Department of Horticulture under the faculty of Agriculture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have described the importation of seeds as worrying and urged government and even students to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in seed production to permanently reverse the trend.
Agyei Douglas is a vegetable farmer at Gyinase in the Asokwa Municipality of the Ashanti region.
He has been in this business for over fifteen years. For Agyei and his colleague farmers, their major challenge is access to seeds.
They always have to import these seeds from other countries which at times become scarce. This he says affects their activities badly.
He tells Citi Business News that the imported seeds do not normally thrive well in Ghana due to the difference in weather conditions, and as a result, neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Togo among others who produce their own seeds come out with more attractive ones.
“This affects the competitive advantage and preference for imported products as compared to ones produced in Ghana. We are urging government and all stakeholders to come up with ways of producing seeds in Ghana to reverse the worrying trend,” he said.
Another farmer, Emmanuel Sam, the Vice Chairman of Peace and Love Vegetable Growers Association at Asokwa wants serious research into it, as he says some locally produced seeds that some Ghanaians attempted to produce were inferior.
For researchers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s faculty of Agriculture, such as Dr. Eli Gaveh, a senior lecturer at the Department of Horticulture, this is very disturbing.
The faculty is therefore urging students and faculty members to explore the entrepreneurial advantages of producing seeds in Ghana to solve the challenge.
“We are looking at the industry of tomato where Ghana imports roughly 95 million dollars’ worth of tomato annually from Burkina Faso. According to research figures, we also import a lot of vegetable seeds every year and we are looking at an industry where Ghana can be very competitive in relation to producing its own tomato and other vegetables we consume.
We can do this and also focus on developing the local vegetable seed industry where we can develop vegetable seeds which are adapted to our climate and our environment and can do very well in tropical condition. We can minimize the amount of money we spend on imports of seeds and also some type of vegetables we bring into the country every year.,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ashanti regional director of Agriculture, Rev. John Manu outlined some measures government is putting in place to help tackle the issue.
“Vegetable production seed industry has been in the infancy stage but currently with government support through planting for food and jobs and this greenhouse initiative. Government is supporting the institution especially crop research, we are seriously growing, doing some work in tomato. I know they are doing a very good work in tomato and the idea is to strengthen vegetable production in Ghana and we want to encourage the youth into it,” he said.