Seed Inspectors have been trained as part of efforts to ensure the production of good quality rice seed for increased cultivation to enable the country achieve rice self-sufficiency.
The rice varietal recognition and quality seed production training was also to make participants more familiar with rice as a plant, recognize the characters differentiating two rice varieties as well as expose them to good seed production techniques.
The participants numbering 26 were drawn from the Ghana Seed Inspection Division (GSID) of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), an institution, which was key for seed quality assurance in the country.
The training, which was held in Tamale, formed part of the Rice Seed Scaling project being implemented by AfricaRice with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Mr Boubakary Cissé, Seed Expert and Country Coordinator of the Rice Seed Scaling project, who spoke during the training, said the training, which strengthened the capacity of Seed Inspectors, formed part of efforts by the project to contribute to the development of a sustainable rice seed system in the country to ensure the production of quality seed for rice farmers.
Mr Cissé emphasised the role of seed inspectors, which included certifying the seed through a systematic quality assurance process in line with minimum quality standards during production, conditioning and distribution urging them to work hard to ensure the success of the project.
Mr Eric Quaye, Head of GSID, thanked AfricaRice for the training, saying it gave the basics for effective rice seed inspection and certification in the country. Mr Quaye appealed to the Agriculture Technology Transfer Project (ATTP) to facilitate the mobility of the seed inspectors to enable them to make good use of the acquired knowledge.
Mr Musah Salifu Taylor, Technical Director of ATTP, spoke about the importance of quality seed in agricultural production asking seed inspectors to contribute to the promotion of certified seed and facilitate remote farmers’ accessibility to quality seed. He said “All our efforts for improving soil fertility and applying other good agricultural practices will be in vain if quality seed is lacking.”
Dr Stephen Nutsugah, Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR – SARI), thanked the project for the training and appealed to the trainees, who he described as “foot soldiers of agriculture” to make good use of the acquired knowledge.
Dr Gary Mullins, Chief of Party of ATTP, also urged seed inspectors to be in the “vanguard” of the quality seed production. The project hopes to ensure 40 per cent use of certified seeds in all Feed the Future zones by 2018.