Seed security is being promoted as a means of achieving productivity, food security, and resilience among smallholders. This has resulted in notions that vulnerabilities among smallholders in Africa are the outcomes of inadequate adoption of improved seeds. What these perspectives have neglected is: How politics mediate access to seeds? and Whether and how politics influence farmers' perception of seed security? This study draws upon a case study of Northern Ghanaian Savannahs to examine politics and seed security among smallholders. The logistic analysis shows that the presence of recurring conflicts significantly determines how farmers perceived vulnerability to seed insecurity. Thus, farmers from relatively peaceful villages were 4.705 times more likely to rate themselves as not vulnerable to seed insecurity compared to their counterparts experiencing recurring conflicts. Analysis further shows that smallholder vulnerabilities to seed insecurity are constructed at the intersection of historical ethnic conflicts and neoliberal policies in ways that contest the dominant narratives. Key for achieving seed security is a better understanding of how local and macro politics influence perceptions and mediate access to healthy and desirable seeds. © Springer Nature B.V. 2020.