Three years ago, the certified seed production chain in Northern Ghana was saddled with bottlenecks affecting access to breeder seeds, field inspection, certification by the regulatory agency (which resulted in late release), processing, packaging, and the availability of certified seeds at the various communities for farmers to buy. But now the blockages have been cleared thanks to assistance from the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)-implemented Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer Project.
Aside from the provision of technical training and logistical support to the Ghana Seed Inspection Unit of Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture, a partnership with the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute has facilitated the provision of breeder seeds to seed out-growers for multiplication. This is then taken over by processors who are now equipped with ultra-modern processing and packaging machines to make seeds readily available to farmers at their doorsteps.
The managing director of Antika Company Limited, Alhaji Abdulia Seidu Antiku, affirms, “There has been a huge and great transformation in the certified seed production sector. I am proud and happy to be associated with this wind of positive change. The project’s support has taken the seed sector in Northern Ghana, especially in Upper West, to a higher and different level.”
Antiku is one of the beneficiaries of the three sets of seed processing and packaging equipment financed by the Project. He reminisced that his company only had the capacity and technology know-how to produce between 10 and 50 tons of certified seeds, which took three months, but now his company processes over 650 metric tons of certified seeds in just four weeks.
“All the maize, soy, rice, and cowpea seeds I processed this season are sold-out, and this has been consistent over the past few years. Every year the number of farmers who buy certified seeds increases, and it is because they have heard testimonies of the benefits of using certified seeds from their colleague famers.
“This is just a beginning of the paradigm shift, and I know with this trend, Antika Company will hit its target of supplying certified seeds to over 70 percent of farmers in the Upper West region because I have received a seed van from the Project, and I am using to sell seeds in hard to reach communities,” said Antiku.
The partnership with the Project has drastically reduced the stress women seed-sorters endure to sort the volumes of seeds after the breakdown of the only sorting machine in the region.
The Project financed the purchase of modern seed processing equipment, which consists of a Dichwe cleaner, Trommel (3-screen), Seed Treaters, Bagging unit (bin, trolley & stitching machine), and mini laboratory kits to enhance the production and processing of larger quantities of seed to be distributed to farmers. The new equipment has a capacity of six (6) metric tons per hour.
“What I admire about IFDC and the ATT project is their personal approach. Over the past three years the support that I have received has been very fruitful,” Antiku remarked.