In Ghana, certified sorghum seed is largely unavailable in the market, which affects sorghum production. To resolve the shortfalls in the supply of certified seed, Faranaya Agribusiness Limited, in partnership with 2SCALE, initiated an Informal Change Alliance in 2021 to bring together players from the public and private sectors. Through this collaborative approach, it is expected that over 80MT of seeds will be availed to farmers-mainly smallholders- enough to cover 10,666 hectares of farmland.
Faranaya-the business champion in this partnership- is a commercial aggregator of sorghum that supports farmers in Northern Ghana to access markets for their produce and add value by engaging in primary processing. Considering the rising demand for sorghum, and the need for Faranaya to acquire more raw materials from farmers, stakeholders in the partnership identified the need to acquire and introduce improved sorghum seed varieties in the market. Achieving this requires a collaborative effort with input companies, government bodies, and research institutions among other key players. The sector change initiative was thus initiated in the partnership, to address the challenge of access to quality sorghum seed in Ghana.
Launching and building the Sub sector change idea
Sub-sector-level engagements address challenges beyond the capacity of specific partnership actors to overcome but, if resolved, would have a sub-sector-wide effect.
Commercial production of certified open-pollinated sorghum seeds was thus initiated. At the same time, the importation and introduction of hybrid sorghum seeds in commercial quantities by a private sector player in the agri input market in Ghana also commenced. Faranaya Agribusiness, 2SCALE, Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (CSIR-SARI, Callighana, Peasant farmers, Seed Pac, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and regulatory bodies (PPRSD-GSID) took the lead in this.
Two years later, this initiative has yielded significant results towards meeting the sub-sector objective of making open-pollinated certified seeds-specifically Kapala and Dorado- available for smallholder farmers. The target was to produce and distribute 2MT of foundation seed, which would then be multiplied by seed companies and growers. During a sorghum stakeholder meeting in 2022, 2SCALE through the Ghana Country Team Leader, Jalil Zakaria, presented the market opportunities in the sorghum seed sector given the rising demand and commercial usage of sorghum.
Sorghum is an important import substitution commodity and there is the need for increased local production to prevent organizations, especially brewery companies from importing it. With the improved seed varieties, farmers can now produce more, eventually meeting market demand.
Building collaborations to achieve a common goal
Seed growers like SeedPac and peasant farmers did not disappoint and immediately embraced the initiative to produce open pollinated certified seeds in commercial quantities. CSIR-SARI and MoFA were tasked to train, register, and monitor the multiplication process, a task that they took up so well. Twenty seed growers were trained and registered with five seed growers picking up foundation seeds for multiplication.
Obed Asunka, the managing director of Faranaya was jubilant given the achievement of realizing the partnership ambition of availing improved sorghum seeds to smallholder farmers.
As a farmer-based organisation offering strategic support to farmers in our catchment areas, we aim to increase sorghum production thereby growing our business. This breakthrough forms one of our biggest achievements in terms of increasing production from farmers. Improved seeds are fundamental to realizing higher production and consequently improving livelihoods due to increased incomes.
Beni Joseph, a member of
the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana was equally happy with the gains the
partnership has achieved in a span of two years. He said,