Scientists, politicians and farmers are urging the government of Ghana to pass new laws that will strengthen the local seed industry and make improved seeds more available to farmers.
Specifically, they are asking the government to re-introduce the Plant Breeders’ Bill, which is expected to help make the country more competitive in the seed industry and ensure food security.
If ultimately approved, the bill will give scientists and science institutions intellectual property over new plant varieties they develop so they can earn royalties on the products. Scientists say this will encourage more private investments in the seed sector for the benefit of farmers and the nation as a whole.
“What it seeks to do is to give the scientists who develop the seeds some royalties to enable the scientists and organizations developing the seeds to continue doing it,” explained Dr. Richard Ameyaw Ampadu, a research scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). “The government is not giving the scientists money to develop seeds for our farmers. But we need different seed varieties for farmers to have optimum choice.”
In Africa, more than 10 countries, including Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have passed a Plant Breeders’ Bill into law. This has accelerated the introduction of new plant varieties and led to the transformation of their agricultural sector.
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