Sending seeds to Ghana Africa

We have had some wonderful guest a few times over the past two years. The wife will soon finish her degree at Northwest Arkansas. The husband has finished his degree in Africa. Today was the first time I have met the husband, he just flew to the U.S. a few days ago.

The husband seemed very interested in my seed starting set-up and my garden. He tells me that seed selection in Ghana is much less than it is here. I would like to send seeds back with him in May when he returns home. (the wife has another semester to complete before she returns.

What I would like from my friends on the Oklahoma Garden Web Is advice on what type of seed to buy and send back with him. He could not tell my the strain of seed they use (which might have a different name here anyway)

He will be going back in may and says that is the planting time for them. If any of you have any advice I sure could use it.

By the way he tells me their seasons are controled by rainy and dry seasons, and they buy their cabbage seeds from the us because their cabbage wont live long enough to produce seeds.


Comments (32)

  • Pamchesbay

    Hi Larry:

    I have seeds to donate, was curious about their climate and what crops, especially food crops, are grown in Ghana. (Chandra, we need you!)

    I googled "food crops Ghana" (link below). In a nutshell, food production in Ghana is erratic, in part because of frequent, severe droughts. Livestock is limited because of poor grazing conditions in areas, and the tsetse fly in other areas.

    "The main food crops are corn, yams, cassava and other root crops."

    "The country produces a variety of crops in various climatic zones which range from dry savanna to wet forest and which run in eastwest bands across the country. Agricultural crops, including yams, grains, cocoa, oil palms, kola nuts, and timber, form the base of Ghana's economy.[1]"

    Ask your friends what people grow and consume - that would help us. I don't have seed for corn but do have seed for two varieties of organic, non-GMO soy beans. (link to info page about them below) I don't know if soy beans are grown or would be consumed in Ghana.

    Here is a link to info about these varieties:

    If your friends want to grow soybeans, I can send the seeds to you.

    Take care,

    Here is a link that might be useful: Agriculture in Ghana

  • Pamchesbay

    Hi Larry,

    I found a study - "Assessing Crop Production and Input Use Patterns in Ghana" published in 2011 by the International Food Policy Research Institute that provides answers to some of my questions. (link below)

    Some crops - rice, sorghum, millet, and cocoa - are grown in specific regions, while other crops - maize, cassava, tomato - are grown by many households in all four agricultural zones.

    The top two crops are maize and cassava. (Over 60% of rural households and 25-30% of urban households grow maize and cassava.)

    The next most popular crops are pepper, plantain, okra and tomato. Other popular food crops are groundnuts, beans and pulses (grouped), banana, pawpaw, orange, pineapple, eggplant, and leaf vegetables. The most popular grains are millet, sorghum and rice.

    The study does not mention soybeans so it must not be grown- perhaps requires too much water.

    I have lots of Clemson Spineless okra seed that I collected last year. Have odds and ends of tomato and pepper seed. No corn. Just started growing beans last year, ramping up production this year so no surplus bean seed yet.

    Take care,

    Here is a link that might be useful: Assessing Crop Production and Input Use Patterns in Ghana

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Pam, thanks so much. I read over the "Crop Production" report and found it very interesting. I hope to meet with Dan soon and better understand his goals.

    I hope I can get this posted. I have writen two post and lost them both, if this one does not show up I will try again tomarrow.


  • soonergrandmom

    The yams are not the same as the vegetable that we know as yams. Ours are actually sweet potatoes and their yams are an very long white fleshed root vegetable from a perennial vine.

  • Lisa_H OK

    Let us know what you find out, I'd love to help!

  • Lisa_H OK

    Does he know about composting and building the soil?

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Lisa, yes he knows about composting. He also checked out the way I have ditches dug around my gardens and filled with mulch, which provides drainage and compost.
    Dan tells me that in the rainy season they get a lot of rain that erodes their growing areas.

    I also intend to send some Seminole seeds back with him, we did not discuss those, but I think they may be useful there.

    I will have to check if there are any restrictions on sending seeds, Dan said he did not know of any, but this is also his first time out of the country.


  • Erod1

    If he is taking them on a flight, there is a chance they could be confiscated. You would probably have better luck mailing them to him. I will see if i can find anything that shows regulations, but do know if you try to bring seeds into the US, they will be confiscated.........if they find them, that is.


  • Lisa_H OK

    Taking seeds into Haiti has not been a problem at all. But I would never attempt to bring them into the US.

    Hmm. It does look like it is prohibited.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ghanaian Customs

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Erod and Lisa, thanks I will have check a little further

  • Macmex

    Small packets of vegetable seed are usually no problem for travel between countries. I used to carry and/or ship vegetable seed between the US and Mexico with no problem at all. Sweet potatoes cannot be brought into the USA under any circumstances.

    I looked up their latitude. Ghana is at about 5 degrees from the equator, which makes a huge difference in what will grow there. I used to live at 20 degrees and most of my squash acted like wimps there. On the other hand, the native squash were "swash buckling thugs." When I brought seed up here, the 20 degree natives were still exceedingly vigorous, but they failed to flower and set fruit in time for our first frost.

    Larry, I will do a germination test. I have a day length neutral soy, which should grow there as well as a great pole bean and one of those southern latitude squash.

    Tahlequah, OK

  • slowpoke_gardener

    George, thanks.

    I sent a message to Mary (the wife). Hopfully we can communicate on line better than in person. I did that before I went to Mexico and it worked quite well, but then when I got there I could not understand anything they said. They said that "I did not sound good".

    I was hoping the Seminole pumpkin might be something they can use, but they may have something that will out produce the Seminole.


  • Macmex

    Larry, Seminole would worth trying there. It's a lot hardier than the Znoeth American squash I had when in Mexico.


  • slowpoke_gardener

    George, I hope to send some Seminole seed to Africa. The couple that were here at our house are out of state now, so I have had no contact with them, but i just met with two Missionaries from Ghana and got some pepper and corn seed from Africa. I already have more peppers than I know what to do with, but I plan no placing some of the hot ones under the lights today.


  • Macmex

    Larry, you mentioned going to Mexico? Did you go to Mexico? And... you didn't take me?!

    George ;)

  • slowpoke_gardener

    George, I went to Mexico about 12 years ago. I should have taken you because I dont Know any Spanish. I stayed about a month and came home. I thought that I might want to retire there, but decided it was too far from home.

    I think I will now try to find some tomato seeds from Ghana. If a tomato can resist disease in Ghana, it should think it was in Heaven here.


  • wisterianicol

    I can't believe I am finding this after almost 4 years. I live in Ghana and yes our seed selection is so poor and small. I took on a project to collect and grow the different varieties of pepper in our markets last month and so far i have found only 7. Considering the numbers of varieties I have seen online it's a sad shame. There may be other varieties around but I am categorizing them according to the way they look and their heat level since we don't have any official documents or whatever for our peppers. Tried buying a couple of other varieties from Aliexpress but they all turned out to be a thai variety I can't get the specific name for. Were you able to give the person the seeds, Larry? If yes what crops and varieties were they so i can tell you if they made commercial or not. It's so nice to see non-Ghanaians take an interest in our seed selection and crops. Big ups guys and Happy new year

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry has not been in the best of health and hasn't posted here in quite a while, so if he does not respond here, please do not take it personally. I miss Larry!

  • wisterianicol

    Aww...wishing him a speedy recovery. We'll be praying for him

  • luvncannin

    That is so strange this pops up now I was just thinking about Larry. I miss him too and pray for him too. I was going to look at old posts and see if I missed something about him.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    I saw a comment from him to Carol on FB this morning. He is okay but no longer has a computer and has trouble with his tablet so doesn't post here any more. He sounded about the same. Those of you who remember Larry know there's been lots of illness in his family (him, Madge, some of his siblings I think, some of his kids and their spouses) these last few years. His mom, now 94, moved in with him (last year? year before?) and he is still taking care of her. As always, Larry is the very epitome of kindness and spends time taking care of everyone else. I hope he remembers to take care of himself. He sounded good--positive, busy as always but didn't mention if he is still gardening.

  • Macmex

    Wisterianicol, tell us what the local peppers are like.

    Also, take heart. When I lived in Mexico, I remember launching out to collect local varieties of sweet potato. It took about a year per variety. But I ended up with about six, which wasn't too bad.

    I miss Larry. Think I'll send him a Christmas/New Year's letter.


  • merrybookwyrm

    Have your friends tried keyhole gardens?

  • wisterianicol

    Macmex ...I will try.

    Well, they are all red with the exception of 1 orange one they sell in a university and a yellow variety that came out last Christmas.

    2 of them look like cayenne but one is really hot and used cos of the heat and then the other is used for its redness and isn't hot. Imparts the color to food.

    The next on the list is used when unripe. They are small green balls that smell really good. They are medium hot.

    The orange one looks like a manzana chilli pepper with white seeds and is extremely hot. Just half is needed for a pot of stew.

    Then there are the normal shaped, cylinderical, tapered and non-tapered and not so hot ones. Nothing special really. We use about 11 of these for a pot of stew but then i add more to my plate cos i like it spicy.

    I am yet to taste the yellow variety of the one just above. But it smells pretty spicy.

    Like I said there are more red varieties but with no noticeable differences and no documentation it's hard to tell.

    Why just today I went to the market and saw these

    Looks like a small tomato. I'm going to plant it for that reason. It was the only one that looked like that at the market.

    This is what most of the peppers that are probably different varieties and hybrids look like over here. They aren't the least bit hot to me. I actually bit into one and feel nothing.

    I'm also growing goat weed pepper plants currently. Wish me luck.

  • wisterianicol

    merrybookwyrm... is that question for me? If it is....

    well firstly, no friend of mine gardens. I'm considered a little weird cos I'm 21 and have an interest in gardening instead of mainly clothes and such.

    And I have no idea if our farmers do. Here in Ghana, people farm because of the money. Nobody does it as a hobby or a passion like a lot of us here. And the keyhole garden that I'm now hearing and reading about seems like something a person will do for the novelty or the fun of it. Maybe a subsistence farmer or garden for the home. I know little about what our farmers are doing but I doubt keyhole gardening has been introduced into the country or is being practiced.

  • merrybookwyrm

    Thank you, wisterianicol. I think I lost track of the thread, to ask that question, but what a nice answer! Leads to more thinking. :-) I agree that a keyhole garden, as conceived, is for smaller amounts of plants than a market farmer would be interested in. On the other hand, a market farmer would be interested in the water savings if the keyhole garden concept could be expanded somehow. Time to think...

  • Macmex

    Wisterianicol, I'm not sure about the pepper in the first photo. But those in the second look to be some variation from the c. Chinese family, which means they're related to the habanero (quite hot). I have never met a c. Chinese I didn't like.

    Congratulations on your gardening passion! People all over the world would be benefited if they had such an interest, instead of interests which primarily consume resources or which tether them to the television or computer.

  • Joseph Newton

    Wow!! I just came across this post whiles looking for vegetable seeds to start my backyard garden.

    Wisterionicol im also from Ghana and i love farming. I will like to connect with you. Please message me on facebook Joseph Newton.

    And to anyone on this post lets connect if possible.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Wow, I just saw this post for the first time in a few years.

    I did send seed to Ghana, I don't remember what all I sent, but It was a lot of different seed. I even tried some seed from Ghana, but did not have great luck with then. The pepper seed I was given, could not be named, just by color only. The corn I was given grew very well, and got very tall with large ears, but It could not handle the strong winds I have where I live. My soil is too soft and the stalks were too weak. I did try staking the corn, but it broke off when it got to 10' or 12' tall.

    I do see post on face book by the wife of the man I gave seed to, but I doubt that he gardens any more, I think he travels too much. The man that gave me seed to try, I still see about every year or two, but I have not tried any more seed from him.

    I was ask to try to find a garlic that might do well in Ghana, but I found none in the "States", but did find some online from central America, but figured that Ghana had as good of access to that as I did.

    It is always nice to see post from someone in another country.


  • johnnycoleman

    Does he have access to Jute seeds? I will be growing it for the first time this year. The young leaves are very nutritious.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Johnny, I don't know I have not had contact with him in a long time. I saw something on Facebook several months ago that made me think that he is not in Ghana any more. I would think the best source for seed would be the web.

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