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Greetings From KAPEX Alumni 

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Impression of 2023 KAPEX INVITATIONAL TRAINING (GHANA)
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Kwasi Wih, 

Head-Ghana Seed Inspection Division

Ministry of food and agriculture


word_imageThe Government of Ghana(GoG) has developed policies and plans aimed at developing the AgriculturalSector with the goal of addressing food security and poverty reduction.Prominent among these policies and plans are the Food and Agriculture SectorDevelopment Policy (FASDEP II), and the Medium-Term Agriculture SectorInvestment Plan (METASIP I & II). These are policies, which have led to anincrease in agricultural production.

The rice sector development in Ghana ismainly guided by the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS), which wasformulated in 2009 and revised in 2021. This document, developed by theMinistry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in collaboration with the Coalition forAfrican Rice Development (CARD) has set out strategic intervention areas whichwhen addressed will lead to the government achieving its vision of increasingrice production by 20% per annum and attaining self-sufficiency by 2027.

As a commodity-based strategy, the GhanaNational Rice Development Strategy (G-NRDS II) is aimed at addressing thechallenges of low agricultural production by focusing on the bottlenecks alongthe rice value chain, which hitherto have inhibited the growth of the riceindustry.

In developing the rice sector, thefollowing thematic areas have been critically examined and solutions offered:these include seed system; fertilizer marketing, distribution and usage;harvesting, post- harvest and marketing system; irrigation and water controlsystem; equipment access and maintenance system; research technologydevelopment and transfer; community mobilization, farmer-based organization andcredit management system; and monitoring and evaluation.

The G-NRDS II has proposed a governancestructure, which will lead to efficient intra and inter-value chain operationsthus achieving the expected policy goal of attaining self-sufficiency in riceproduction.

In response, the Korea Agricultural Policy Experiencesfor Food Security (KAPEX) 2023- Ghana project, inspired by South Korea'ssuccessful journey in advanced seed production, was initiated to fosterdevelopment of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) project forsustainable rice production in Ghana. The KAPEX 2023-Ghana project is funded byMinistry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and being implementedby Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).

 

The Ghana Seed Inspection Division (GSID) of PlantProtection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) under the Ministry ofFood and Agriculture (MoFA), a regulatory body for Seed Quality Assurance isone of the KAPEX 2023 implementing institutions in Ghana that participated inthe invitational programme. As the focal person for K-rice belt in Ghana, I hadthe privilege of accompanying the 4-member team from Ghana to partake in the2023 invitational training in South Korea.

 

The training afforded the participants the opportunity toappreciate the advanced seed production technologies and policies beingimplement in Korea. The team visited Agricultural Research centers, Seedmanagement facilities, Rural Development Administration (RDA), rice production,supply and management systems, Korea Seed and Variety Service (KSVS), NationalAgricultural Museum. Participants also had lectures on rice seed production,supply and management system, quality inspections system for rice distribution,management system for rice seed selection and post-harvest handling. Theseexperiences will enable the participants contribute effectively in the K-riceproject in Ghana which KOPIA-Ghana has already produced and handed over 300MTof certified rice seeds to the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Foodand Agriculture to boost rice production in Ghana.

 

It was observed and understood that the success of South Korea’srice production is anchored in seed demand planning, excellent policies andinnovative technological advancements. The seed production system is centeredon combination of information, quality assurance regime, data software tools,and technology for improved rice production and productivity. Ghana as a developing country with 50% self-sufficiency in rice production could benefit from the South Korea’s richexperience and expertise to foster sustainable rice production in Ghana.

Some notable lessons from South Korea in the area ofResearch and Development (R&D), promotion and sensitization, accessibilityof seeds by farmers, inspection and certification, training and capacitybuilding, infrastructure for seed production and conditioning and enforcementof quality assurance regimes could be adapted by Ghanaian rice value chainactors to improve the rice production system in Ghana.

 

The KAPEX programme also presented an opportunity to developaction plan for future implementation of identified challenges in the rice seedvalue chain in Ghana. Some major areas identified for support include; Researchand Development; Promotion and sensitization of improved rice varieties;accessibility of seeds by farmers; inspection and certification and training;capacity building for seed growers and infrastructure for seed production andprocessing.

It became evident that a strategic combination ofcomprehensive planning, excellent policies, and innovative technological advancementsplayed a pivotal role in South Korea’s agriculture success. The on-sitetraining by the Ghanaian team facilitated a comprehensive understanding of theKorea's rice seed production expertise that is recognized worldwide that willserve as a springboard for Ghana to leapfrog in its rice production

 

In conclusion, lessons learned in riceseed training in Korea underscore the importance of preserving geneticdiversity, promoting sustainable farming practices, and empowering farmers withknowledge and resources. Key takeaways include the significance of selectingand preserving high-quality seeds, implementing proper storage techniques tomaintain seed viability, and adopting environmentally-friendly cultivationmethods to ensure long-term agricultural sustainability. Furthermore, communityengagement and collaboration play vital roles in sharing knowledge andfostering innovation within the rice farming sector. Overall, the KAPEXtraining in Korea was very educative and serves as a model for integratingtradition with innovation to address contemporary rice production challenges inGhana and promote food security.

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