The National Seed Trade Association (NASTAG) in collaboration with the Central Regional Offices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) held a sensitization meeting on the seed sector reform documents (the National Seed Policy and its implementation strategy, the National Seed Plan) for 62 public and private sector seed stakeholders at Cape Coast, on Tuesday June 27, 2017.
Participants were made up of representatives from MOFA departments, agriculture-related non-governmental and civil society organizations, agribusinesses and seed enterprises located in the Central and Western regions. This was second in a series of seed sector stakeholders’ sensitizations sessions organized by NASTAG under a grant of the USAID Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP). The first sensitization meeting was held for the seed sector stakeholders in the three regions of Northern Ghana in Tamale earlier in February this year.
The seed sector reform documents developed by MOFA provide the framework and guidelines for operating the seed system in Ghana. As such, they serve as the most relevant documents to guide and enhance the roles of the seed value chain actors in developing their businesses and the seed industry in Ghana.
In view of the importance of the seed sector to the success of government of Ghana’s newly launched agriculture sector development program dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)”, it is imperative to enhance key stakeholders’ knowledge and understanding of these relevant documents. More importantly, seed value chain actors need to understand their critical roles, from private sector perspectives, in order to effectively contribute their quota to agriculture development, food and nutrition security and enhance incomes.
In an opening remark, the Central Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture-Mr Geshon Wodzrah, said, “In the light of the government’s flagship programme on Planting for Food and Jobs, this sensitization meeting could not have come at any appropriate time than now. “Today’s meeting I am sure will give us the opportunity to know more about NASTAG and it role in the seed sector and provide a good understanding to most of the seed sectors stakeholders gathered here today on the seed policy and plan for the development of the seed sector and agriculture us a whole to our collective benefit”
Mr. Yakubu Iddrisu, a representative of the USAID Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP), also indicated that “as one of the US Government’s Feed the Future projects in Ghana, the APSP’s mandate stems from its objective to promote the development and commercialization of improved agricultural inputs including seeds. APSP supports the formulation and implementation of agricultural policies including the national seed policy and its implementation plan, and so the project works to increase private sector stakeholders’ participation in the implementation of the Ghana seed sector reforms documents”.
Interestingly a pre-evaluation conducted by the organizers prior to the presentations on the reform documents revealed that, nearly 60% and 80% of the participants present at the meeting had never seen the National Seed Policy and the National Seed Plan respectively before. This means that key stakeholders in the seed-sector did not understand the Government of Ghana’s policy direction for the sector nor the role of the private sector in the implementation of the plan. These startling statistics undoubtedly amplified the significance of the sensitization exercise among seed sector stakeholders in the country.
Essentially, participants were taken through a brief presentation on NASTAG by Augusta Nyamadi-Clottey, the Association’s Executive Secretary. There were presentations on Ghana seed industry perspectives and National Seed Policy, followed by the National Seed Plan by Mr. Rowland Addo from MoFA headquarters. Mr. Thomas Havor, an interim executive council member of NASTAG, also representing the Seed Producers’ Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG – member of NASTAG), made a presentation on the role of the private-sector in the implementation of the National Seed Plan.
In an exhaustive discussion, participants sought clarifications relating to the presentations especially on the reform documents and spoke on critical issues such as; how to strengthen the private seed sector players to harness their potentials in developing quality seeds in view of the increasing demand for seeds from programs such as the PFJ. The participants also expressed the need for awareness creation on new varieties developed and the implications for cropping activities and agriculture productivity in the country.
Generally, comments from participants at the end of the session with suggested recommendations reiterated the need for NASTAG and other partners to intensify awareness activities on developments in the seed sector. NASTAG intends to hold sensitization meetings for seed sector stakeholders in the Volta and Eastern regions (Zone 3) and in the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions (zone 4) in the course of the year.
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