By Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA
Ejisu (Ash), Feb. 25, GNA – Stakeholders in the agricultural seed production value chain have launched a tool to estimate prospective and current seed demand for national seed authorities, seed companies and enterprises.
The “Seed Demand Forecasting Tool” has shown to be a highly successful method for closing the demand-supply gap for seeds in countries with developed seed systems.
It intends to help Ghana achieve commitments to sustainable agricultural development, food and nutrition security.
The expectation is that it would help to reduce artificial seed demand, enable a better appreciation of local and international seed markets, and serve as a guide in policy making.
In Ghana, despite the seed demand forecasting tool being a useful strategy for closing the gap, there are no fixed technologies available to help with seed demand forecasting.
The Directorate of Crop Services (DCS) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with an AGRA-sponsored technical assistance supported the development of the seed demand forecasting tool.
Dr. Priscilla Francisco Rivero, a Research Scientist and a Maize Breeder at the CSIR- Crops Research Institute, said the tool was going to be beneficial to the research institutions because most of the seed companies fell on varieties released by them.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting at Ejisu in Ashanti to launch the tool, she indicated that it would help researchers as well as seed companies to know the targets of seed production for the year to avoid time wasted in producing seeds that were not needed at a period.
Dr. Rivero observed that over the years due to the absence of forecasting tool researchers had produced seeds that were not needed by processors and this was costly and time consuming.
“As we speak, we have some particular varieties that have been in the cold room for more than five years. We still spend time to multiply and make seed increase for them.”
She urged stakeholders to effectively use the tool to maximise profit and prevent food losses in Ghana and beyond.
Mr. Roland Agyei Addo, an officer from the MoFA DCS, said the tool which was a guide for avoiding underestimation and overestimating of quantities of seeds would enable farmers maximize productivity.
He noted that the seed system in Ghana was doing quiet well with the emergence of seed companies and this had become more important to advance the seed system.
Mr. Addo was optimistic that improving the seed systems would help companies to plan effectively and guide them to produce quality seeds to the farmers.
The programme was put together by the Directorate of Crop Services at the MoFA, in collaboration with the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) and West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).
It targeted researchers, the National Seed Council (NSC), NASTAG, MoFA, the Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SeedPAG), and the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG).
Dr. Yaw Gyau Akyereko, a member of NASTG, told the Ghana News Agency that the tool was going to give insights into planning for his business.
He explained that since the forecasting tool could predict excess seeds produced at a period, provision would be made for storage facilities to prevent producers from incurring loses.
The Seed Demand Forecasting Tool was developed based on a series of assumptions, including the potential area to be used for all classes of seed production, seeding rate, and seed yield.
The tool operates using various factors affecting the demand of each specific crop’s class of seeds, which include the distinction between actual demand and perceived demand, past and current seed production performance, combined with the available seeds (stock and import); agronomic practices; competitiveness in the seed industry; purchasing power of the farmers; policy and public interventions; and Environmental conditions.