The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is pushing for greater commercialisation for its agricultural products and technologies, to impact on production levels of farmers and agro processors in the country and beyond.
To fulfill this, the CSIR would be partnering the private sector to ensure that all the technologies developed by research scientists come to good use and is more accessible to many people.
Speaking at the Open day of the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of CSIR at Fumesua in Ashanti Region, Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director-General of the Council noted that Ghanaian food crops are comparable to global brands, especially grain quality.
He explained that some agro industries are using the improved varieties as raw materials for processing and debunked the notion that CSIR’s research findings are gathering dusts on the shelves.
“Rather the challenge is commercialisation and large-scale production of the improved crop varieties to increase access to such products,” he added.
The Open Day, which was on the theme: “Agricultural Research: A Catalyst for National Development showcased its improved technologies developed to support agricultural production and nutrition in Ghana as well as deepen relationships with major stakeholders in agricultural research and development.
The day also provided the opportunity for the research scientists to interact with policy makers, farmers, industrialists and other users of research results.
Dr Salifu noted that the CRI has developed and released more than 90 improved food crop varieties for Ghanaian farmers and consumers since the 1970s, which included maize, cowpea, soybean, groundnut, rice, plantain, banana, pepper, yam, cassava, sweet potato and cocoyam.
He entreated Ghanaian consumers made in Ghana foods since most of the food commodities that they consume were originated by Ghanaian scientists.
In a statement read on his behalf, Dr Alfred Tia Sugri, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, commended CRI for numerous agricultural research activities conducted, which he said has provided great opportunities for long term poverty alleviation and food security in Ghana.
He said the competitiveness of agricultural products from Ghana on the world market has been low because the crops are mostly produced and processed mainly at the subsistence level and not as commercial products.
He called on the private sector to venture into commercialisation to fight the competitiveness of crops and other products on the market to help small-holder farmers who depend on the crops for their livelihoods.
Dr Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, explained that agriculture is the backbone of Ghana’s economy and there is the need to invest in agriculture whilst research is given the maximum push.
He explained that Ghana is self sufficient in roots and tuber crops production – cassava, yam, sweet potato and cocoyam – which contributed 46 per cent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product and is currently producing more than 50 per cent of cereals – maize and rice.
“Our self-reliance and food security could only be guaranteed if agriculture is taken seriously by funding research and creating the necessary environment for agricultural research scientists and farmers to operate in,” he added.
Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, Director of CRI observed that CRI is concerned about the producing of healthy seeds for healthy plants and pledged that it would continue to put in its utmost effort for the advancement of agriculture and achievement of food security.
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