Expanding supply of improved seed to farmers in northern Ghana to increase food security uri icon


  • The global problem of food security is particularly acute in many parts of west Africa, where foodproduction needs to increase to meet growing demand. The ?Green Revolution', where improvedcrop varieties are matched with improved management practices (particularly fertilisers), hasbeen very successful in increasing food production in many parts of the world. However, in muchof west Africa farmers have not adopted improved crop varieties. There are many reasons behindthis lack of implementation, such as access to finance, access to improved varieties, access tomarket and government policy constraints. One major roadblock to adoption of improvedvarieties identified in Savelugu, northern Ghana, was a lack of sufficient improved cowpea seed(an important cash crop). In northern Ghana there are very few certified seed producers, mainlydue to the highly regulated certification process. More than 90% of seed is traded betweenfarmers in an ?informal' seed market. In trials conducted in the Savelugu region improved,certified, cowpea varieties consistently outperformed farmer varieties and at field days farmersshowed a strong preference for improved varieties.In the Savelugu region we worked with anInnovation Platform on a pilot system where one seed producer contracted ?out?growers' toproduce certified seed, while the seed producer performed the certification processes andprovide the required inputs and technical support. These out?growers were situated in villagesaround Savelugu, where they were able to use the informal supply chain to deliver 20 additionaltonnes of certified seed to farmers in the first year of operation

publication date

  • 2015