The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), the apex body of the seed value chain, has refuted claims of maize seed shortage in the country.
According to the association, recent media reports with the caption ‘Shortage of maize seed disrupts planting in Sissala’ was only based on a mere fact that some farmers have been unable to get the specific brand of maize seed that they wanted, which are foreign seeds or imported seeds.
President of NASTAG, Amos Rutherford Azinu, Ph.D, in a press statement, stressed that the apex body’s research report in areas such as Tumu, Gwollu, Welembelle, among others – all Sissala communities revealed that there is no shortage of maize seed.
He accused selfish individuals who are interested in collapsing the local seed industry to benefit from the trade of foreign seeds in the country as the masterminds behind the false alarm.
“There are local hybrid seeds of maize that have been produced by our members, most of these hybrids have unique traits, such as climate-smartness, disease tolerance, nitrogen-water use efficiency, pro-vitamin, and many others.
“However, for some time now, there are seed merchants who have emerged in the industry due to bad implementation of a policy; they are only interested in seed importation and refuse to invest in local seed production. These seed merchants only exploited farmers under the narrative that locally produced maize hybrids are not good in quality. This is an attempt to collapse the local seed business because they have no investment in the industry,” he said.
He emphasised that in the past three years, members of NASTAG have invested in infrastructure, such as seed processing equipment, irrigation facilities, and human resources, and are leading the production and dissemination of locally bred hybrid maize varieties, even though most of them are yet to receive full payment of seed supplied under the government flagship programme ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)’ from 2020-2021 farming season.
“We wish to state that farmers who are unable to get their preferred brand of foreign maize seed should adopt and adapt to local brands that are available and not only cheap compared to imported ones, but of good quality with better yields. Our members are in all 16 regions and deliver good products and services to farmers in the country,” NASTAG concluded.