USAID Aims to Increase Farmer Access to High-quality Seed
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), through their joint Scaling Seeds and Technology Partnership (SSTP) held a national dialogue on November 17 to 18 in Accra, to discuss the challenges facing the development of Ghana’s seed sector. USAID/ Ghana Mission Director Andrew Karas delivered remarks on the importance of the production and distribution of high-quality certified seeds in Ghana.
The dialogue brought together representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, crop breeders, and the private sector to examine recommendations from the recent USAID-AGRA funded independent Early Generation Seed Study, and to further develop an action plan for the seed sector. The group reviewed supply and demand constraints facing publicly developed, released, and registered seed varieties of seven crops: maize, rice, cowpea, soybean, sorghum, groundnut and yam. Participants discussed steps to creating a policy environment to boost and sustain seed development, as well as methods to include the private sector throughout the seed production process.
“USAID recognizes that developing Ghana’s seed system is critical to enhancing the productivity of key values chains and increasing incomes of smallholder farmers,” remarked Mr. Karas. “Through Feed the Future, the U. S. government's global hunger and food security initiative, USAID works alongside the Ghana Government, research organizations, the private sector, and development partners to increase agricultural productivity and build opportunities for economic growth in Ghana.”
Through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID works to strengthen the Ghanaian seed sector to increase the quality and quantity of certified seeds available to smallholder farmers. USAID supports institutions like the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) and the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement to develop and release new higher yielding and more climate-resilient varieties of maize, rice, and soybean. To guarantee a consistent and increasing supply of certified seed, USAID has leveraged $10 million towards the seed sector, to grow and enhance the quality of seeds available in Ghana. USAID also trained 65 private seed companies on the production of certified seed, post-harvest best practices and business management. These companies then successfully produced over 1,300 metric tons of certified seed for release into the market for the 2017 growing season.