…As NPP Destroys Jobs Of Over 200 Traditional Seed Breeders
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, which is supposed to be a nationalistic attempt at fostering food security, is said to have turned into a partisan weapon to rob ordinary Ghanaians to pay NPP faithful.
Some 200 seed breeders are said to be in the process of forfeiting their sources of livelihood because the NPP government has vandalized a hitherto all-inclusive practice in the seed breeding sector.
The Akufo-Addo government is said to have generally sidelined traditional producers and given supply contracts to party faithful who have hopped into certified seed production with the advent of the Akufo-Addo regime.
Sources talk of how the government has cut out an important aspect of the seed chain, so that rather than certified seed producers supplying the certified seeds to the market, NPP apparatchiks are buying straight from the Grains and Legumes Development Board.
The seed chain had comprised the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which produced the Producer breed, the GLDB, which produced the Foundation breeds and the Certified Seed producers who bred the certified seeds and then sold them to farmers on the market for planting.
The new system, under Akufo-Addo, allegedly positions the CSIR and the GLDB to deal with party apparatchiks only, cutting out the openness that formerly pertained at the end of the seed chain and made it possible for traditional producers to get the seeds.
As a result of the alleged discrimination that is at play, a group of certified seed producers have initiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the government to give them the opportunity to get a piece of the action.
The Republic has sighted a copy of the MoU and can report that it makes a request for a piece of the action.
Penned by certified seed breeders from the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regional members of the Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG), it requests for the opportunity to get 452 metric tons of certified maize seed to the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
It also requests the chance to produce 80 metric tons of certified rice seed for the same programme.
The combined would-be output would cost a little over GHc15million to produce and would aid the government’s aim to achieve 132,480 of maize grain production in 2018.
In exchange for aiding the government this way, the certified seed producers are asking for sovereign guarantee from government to back them in a quest for loan and an extension of some government subsidies to them.
The MoU that The Republic has sighted has not yet been signed by the government, which has allegedly sidelined organized groups like SEEDPAG and given contracts to party apparatchiks.
A possible signing of the MoU will potentiate the situation in which all other individual certified seed breeders will be encouraged to apply separately to government for separate MoUs, risking the PFJ with a chaotic administration.
Sources say the sidelining of such well-organized groups as SEEDPAG, in favor of party people, is detrimental to government and its PFJ programme because it effectively puts square pegs in round holes.
This is because the alleged favoritism on display serves to dampen the spirits of many certified seed producers and could potentially disrupt a seed production culture that started in 1991.
When certified seed production was privatized in that year, the outlook was to promote individual growers into companies. As seed production is very technical, requiring a different handling of seeds from grains, the practice had always been to train practitioners very well and encourage their expertise.
Individual growers did well to cultivate only acreages that they could adequately manage.
The Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie’s alleged selection of friends and party apparatchiks for the deal to produce certified seeds for the PFJ vandalizes all the fine practices of the certified seed production sector.
Longstanding seed producers who are relegated to the background may be discouraged enough to give up seed breeding.
As a result of the alleged sideline of longstanding practitioners, some 200 certified seed producers are said to have been left in frustration as their sources of livelihood have been taken over by NPP apparatchiks.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels