Seed growers cry over high electricity bills

Seed growers in the Western and Central regions are crying foul over the high cost of electricity, hence calling for government’s intervention. Media General’s Lucy Ayambilla reports, the farmers complain the situation will gradually affect the country’s food production in the near future since the situation is warding off some seed growers. The Grains and Legumes Development Board at Winneba is the largest in the country and serves the Eastern, Western and Central regions. Seed growers within the Western and Central regions who patronize the facility say the high electricity tariffs in seed production is the major impeder of the seed growing business. According to them, this will adversely affect the country’s food production if nothing is done to reduce the production cost for growers. They noted that previously the business was booming because government was bearing part of the cost. But change from the post-paid system to the prepaid system of electricity has become unbearable for them. A farmer may have to spend about GH¢2 000 worth of electricity for a wagon of maize at the first drying point before it goes through the shelling point then back to the drying point again to be able to attain the required level of moisture which is 11%. Nantogma Abdulai is the President of the Seed Producers Association for the Western and Central regions. He called on government to intervene in order to make the business attractive especially the youth. At a visit by Media General’s team to the Grains and Legumes Development Board, Winneba, it was observed that most of the farmers have resorted to sun drying which is very tiresome and takes longer time instead of machine drying due to the high cost of electricity. A seed grower, Bart Addison, explained that the major challenge in the seed production business is the high cost of electricity and lack of holding areas to keep their seeds before the actual process. A seed inspector at the Grains and Legumes Development Board, Francis Kwaw, also raised a similar issue where the oven for sterilizing soil for testing of seed is not functioning because the facility has been disconnected from the national grid due to debt. The seed conveyor at the shelling point has also broken down and needs to be fixed. Lucy Ayambilla reports that the issue is the same at the cold room of the Grains and Legumes Development Board, Winneba, where the regional officer for the board, Charles Opoku disclosed GH¢5,000 worth of electricity is spent every month to keep the room in operation. Charles Opoku noted there was not a single bag of seeds in stock at the cold room for the next minor farming season due to the army worm infestation that hit many farms last year.

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Source:|Ghana ]]>