Vegetable farmers within the Asokwa Municipality of the Ashanti Region have reiterated the need for Ghana to develop a sustainable plan to produce quality seeds locally.
According to them, this will halt the situation of avoid the over-dependence on imported seeds.
Backing this call, researchers at the Department of Horticulture under the faculty of Agriculture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have also 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.
According to them, they always have to import these seeds from other countries, and this sometimes affects their activities badly. He said imported seeds do not normally thrive well in Ghana due to factors such as difference in weather conditions. As a result, neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso and Togo among others produce their own seeds and their crops come out more attractive.
“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.
Emmanuel Sam, another farmer and Vice Chairman of Peace and Love Vegetable Growers Association at Asokwa wants serious research into seed production, emphasizing that, 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 encouraging students and faculty members to start examing and exploring 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.
For his part, 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.