This is important to ensure higher income earnings for agriculturists and food security for the economy.
Ghanaian agricultural researchers and scientists however want protection for their intellectual property in developing new technologies and crop varieties.
They have therefore been pushing for the Plant Breeders Rights Bill to be passed by Parliament.
The bill was one of the most contentious issues of public discuss in 2014 – some groups, including the peasant farmers association, argued against passage of the bill, saying it will not be in their best interest.
But advocates for the bill want it passed as soon as possible.
Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah, the immediate past Director of the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been championing passage of the bill.
According to him, there have been series of engagements to explain the intent of some clauses in the bill which have been contested by interest groups.
Dr. Adu-Dapaah is worried the country will lose out when local plant breeders are not protected.
“We want the farmers to adopt the technologies we have developed because without it we are losing out,” he said. “All the materials we have developed now because of WAAPP, our neighbors have access to the materials and if we do not protect them, they get it and protect it and we will be at the losing end”.
Under the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), countries specialize in developing crops of comparative advantage for adoption by other countries. New technologies are put in a common basket for accessibility, in a bid to enhance integration and collaboration of agricultural research activities in the sub-region.
In Ghana, priority crops under the first phase of the ten-year project focused on root and tubers – mainly yam, cocoyam, sweet potato and cassava.
“I’m praying that parliament passes it as early as possible,” expressed Dr. Adu-Dapaah.