Justice Lee Adoboe ACCRA, (Xinhua) --
Improved seeds rather than huge machinery
are what Africa needs to become self-sufficient in food
production, Ghana’s minister for food and agriculture said on
In his address at
the 10th Anniversary of the West African Center for
Crop Improvement (WACCI), Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the
government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” will distribute
improved seeds to 200,000 Ghanaian farmers from this planting
season to boost food production.
“WACCI is doing so
well because the research that it is doing, the capacity that it
is building for researchers to go out there and improve
varieties and so on, therein lies agricultural future of Africa
and nothing else. It has nothing to do with tractors and big
ideas,” Akoto said.
“Just the small
seeds we improved which has got the potential to increase yield,
that is what it’s all about,” the minister said.
WACCI was set up at
the University of Ghana in 2007 to train plant breeders over a
10-year period to produce improved seeds for Africa.
In Ghana, the maize
varieties yield between 0.5 to 7 tonnes per hectare, but WACCI
said with its new varieties farmers can produce as much as 10
tonnes of maize per hectare.
projected that if with just 11 percent of maize farmers using
improved seed in Ghana, the country will be self-sufficient in
Vice Chancellor of
the University of Ghana Ebenezer Oduro Owusu cited statistics to
predict that about 320 million people would go hungry by 2025 if
urgent steps were not taken on food security.
Moreover, he said
while great progress had been made globally in agricultural
development, the untapped agricultural potentials in sub-Saharan
Africa has rather contributed to extreme poverty and
deteriorated food and nutrition security with over 240 million
people going hungry.
initiatives such as WACCI were therefore important in training
the scientists who will help the continent overcome the food
Africa’s trade bloc harmonizes
policies to boost seed industry
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Member states of Africa’s largest trading bloc,
have finalized development of joint policies and regulations to
revitalize growth of the seed industry, officials said on
Speaking at a
regional workshop in Nairobi, policymakers, experts and industry
executives from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA) said that a new policy and regulatory framework
was an imperative to enhance development and deployment of high
yielding seeds to farmers.
Secretary for Agriculture, Richard Lesiyampe in his opening
remarks said that a robust seed industry in the east and
southern African region is key to achieve food security and
sustainable revenue streams for rural farmers.
“A vibrant, modern
and competitive seed industry is essential to improve
agricultural productivity in this region. Governments and
industry have a role to ensure that farmers have access to
quality and affordable seeds,” Lesiyampe said.
The 19-COMESA member
states have realigned their policy and regulatory frameworks to
enhance development and cross-border trade in high yielding
Lesiyampe said that
countries in the region have endorsed a joint protocol to hasten
development of certified seeds that can withstand vagaries of
weather, pests and diseases.
“Our governments are
participating in regional initiatives and projects to develop
drought tolerant seeds and create a market for them across
borders,” said Lesiyampe, adding that technology and skills
exchange is key to develop a vibrant seed industry in the
Growth of seed
sector in the region has been hampered by disjointed policies,
low technology absorption, price volatility, adulterated seeds
and lack of awareness among smallholder farmers.
an officer with alliance for commodity trade in eastern and
southern Africa, urged governments to prioritize investments in
improved seeds alongside modern infrastructure to facilitate
their deployment to farmers.
“We must share best
practices that can rejuvenate growth of the seed sector in this
region. Governments should also regulate the price of seeds and
put deterrent measures to curb sale of adulterated ones that
cause havoc in the farms,” Takaravasha said.
She urged COMESA
member states to adhere to phytosanitary standards in order to
create a robust cross border market for seeds.