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USAID to provide farmers access to high-quality seed

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held a national dialogue on in Accra to discuss the challenges facing the development of Ghana’s seed sector in collaboration with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) through their joint Scaling Seeds and Technology Partnership (SSTP)

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. Steps to create a policy environment to boost and sustain seed development, as well as methods to include the private sector throughout the seed production process were also discussed.

At the event, USAID-Ghana Mission director Andrew Karas spoke about the importance of the production and distribution of high-quality certified seeds in Ghana. “USAID recognises that developing Ghana’s seed system is critical to enhancing the productivity of key values chains and increasing incomes of smallholder farmers,” he remarked. “Through Feed the Future, the US government's global hunger and food security initiative, USAID works alongside the Ghana government, research organisations, the private sector and development partners to increase agricultural productivity and build opportunities for economic growth in Ghana.”

USAID works to strengthen the Ghanaian seed sector to increase the quality and quantity of certified seeds available to smallholder farmers through the Feed the Future initiative. 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.

USAID has leveraged US$10mn towards the Ghanaian seed sector with the aim of guaranteeing a consistent and increasing supply of certified seed and to grow and enhance the quality of seeds available in the country. USAID also trained 65 private seed companies on the production of certified seed, post-harvest best practices and business management. These companies have successfully produced over 1,300 metric tonnes of certified seed for release into the market for the 2017 growing season.