Business News of Friday, 23 November 2018
The Agriculture Technology Transfer Project (ATTP) has helped to significantly transform the country’s seed sector through increased availability of certified seeds for farmers.
Dr Gary Mullins, Chief of Party of the Project, said this had resulted in higher crop yield and returns.
He said due to the activities of the project, maize, rice and soybean production had gone up in terms of per hectare yield.
For maize, it is now 3.88 metric tonnes per hectare (MT/ha), representing 228 per cent increase, with that of rice 5.16 MT/ha, an increase of 287 per cent and 2.66 MT/ha for soybean, a rise of 266 per cent.
Dr Mullins said this when he made a presentation on the ATTP at an end-of-project learning event in Tamale.
It brought stakeholders in agriculture together to share lessons learnt and experiences as part of the implementation.
The ATTP is a five-year project (2013-2018), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its Feed The Future Initiative to increase availability and use of agricultural technologies to raise and sustain productivity in the Northern part of the country.
The project has worked to remove constraints in the seed value chain by establishing three modern seed laboratories alongside other interventions to make certified seeds obtainable.
The Chief of Party encouraged the stakeholders to incorporate lessons learnt into any new related activities to sustain the achievements as the project prepared to wind up, next month.
Dr Wilson Dogbe, Principal Research Scientist at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) said the project had made seeds accessible to farmers, adding that, prior to its implementation, CSIR-SARI was producing only seven tonnes of foundation seeds but now doing over 80 tonnes.
Mr Thomas Havor, President of National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), said the private sector seed producers had been empowered by the project and gave the assurance that they were in position to produce adequate certified seeds to meet the needs of farmers.
Participants suggested that as the project prepared to wind up, seed producers should work hard to increase availability of seeds in the communities so that farmers would not have to travel long distances to get them to cultivate.