AGRA pushes for better seed quality to boost crop production
Effective distribution systems and increased government support to private sector are key in enabling farmers get high quality seeds in Africa.
This is according to According to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which says the move is important in achieving a vibrant seed sector in the continent.
“Farmers need the seed but often they don’t know about the seed, the value of a higher yielding variety and so they continue to cultivate the old variety. We need also to launch additional agro dealers where farmers in villagers can buy seed and use it in their farm,” AGRA vice President Joe Devries said.
Over the last decade, Kenya has been conducting research on improved seed varieties as part of boosting productivity especially among small-scale farmers.
Despite breakthroughs in technological innovations for some crops, adoption levels have been poor.
“Only about 20 percent of farmers in Africa have access to improved seed varieties. We should be doing over fifty percent now,” he added.
The move is expected to change the current situation, with agro-dealers touted as front line extension officers enabling farmers access high quality seeds and other agricultural inputs.
AGRA President Agnes Kibata also called for more private sector engagements to boost the use of improved seeds.
“Most of our countries have huge programs trying to take inputs to farmers, question is how do we make them productive, and successful, get the most of what they are trying to do, while building the capacity of seed companies, fertilizer companies etc,” she said.
The two spoke during the launch of a book which details the growth of Africa’s seed sector in the last ten years. The research was conducted in 18 different African countries.
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