The Access to Seeds Index has great potential to fill in the gaps in the seed sector. Not only in Ghana, but in the seed system of all African countries. Thus stated the Ghanaian Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Clement Kofi Humado during the 38th Session of the FAO Ministers’ Conference in Rome. The Minister welcomed the ambitions of the Access to Seeds Index and highlighted the key role that the international seed industry plays in raising agricultural production.
Mr. Humado also expressed three concerns. He highlighted that instead of replacing local seed system players, the multinational seed companies should establish parnerships with local companies. This especially goes for breeding and capacity building in seed production and distribution.
Second, he noted the importance of preserving local varieties, co-existing with improved varieties. Preserving national biodiversity needs global knowledge, which seed companies might be able to provide.
Third and finally, Mr. Humado pointed out the challenges to increase certified seed demand. He noted that a big opportunity lies in the use of ‘lead farmers’. He proposed that the multinational seed companies could work with ‘outgrowers’ to produce certified seed. Success stories of outgrowers can then “pave the way for lead farmers in villages to adopt improved varieties, which will stimulate neighbouring farmers to adopt new varieties as well”.
All side-notes, remarks and expectations will be used as input for the first Access to Seeds Index Round Table in Addis Ababa on 23-24 September, 2013.